In a dream last night I made up a joke. What is grey and looks like a stone? A dorfst.
Don’t bother to look it up. There is no such word as dorfst. Nevertheless, in my dream it made perfect sense and was, moreover, extremely witty. Surprisingly, when I told my wife about it this morning she laughed out loud. But of course she was really laughing at the silliness that makes up so much of the inside of my head.
Some people write narratives like my dorfst joke. To them, these narratives are beautifully constructed, intriguingly clever, and just waiting for the world to recognise their merit. To everybody else they are incomprehensible, pointless, or just plain silly.
It’s an easy enough mistake to make. I’ve made it myself plenty of times. It’s the reason why I don’t have a very high opinion of self-publishing. I think you need someone else other than yourself and your partner or friend to tell you whether the narrative has universality or whether it’s really nothing more than a dorfst.