I posted this yesterday and was met with a wave of positive replies. (“I feel seen,” “same,” “relatable,” “TRUTH,” “I thought it was just me,” etc.)
It was just a silly post, but it made me think of all the times on book tour when somebody would step out of the signing line and say, “You put into words what I was already thinking.” This should be taken as a compliment. Steinbeck said what we really want as readers is “corroboration,” for another human being to essentially say, “No, you’re not alone.”
Of course, the only way as a writer to get there is to truthfully articulate what you, in particular, think or feel. Then, hopefully, the readers who think and feel the same — or are inclined to — will find you.
As for that torn feeling, between compassion and disgust, love and misanthropy: Always, always, I repeat to myself, “Be the light or reflect it.” (If you can’t be a sun, generating your own light, be a moon, reflecting it.) “I’m trying, Ringo,” Samuel L. Jackson says in Pulp Fiction, “I’m trying real hard to be the shepherd.”