Who Owns the Inner Critic?

Hardly had I announced the new book would deal with the inner critic, when the emails started to come in. People letting me know that there was someone else teaching a class on the inner critic, another one saying that they had taken a class with someone who had a chapter in her book about the inner critic. Still another who reminded me that “inner critic” belonged to Julia Cameron, Martha Beck, and a host of other people who have used the term some where, some time.

Big, deep breath. I know. The term “inner critic” is a generic term for that voice we all have that yammers about what we are missing, what we don’t have, and how we are not enough.

I did not invent the inner critic–he (or she) comes built-in to your brain, courtesy hundreds of  thousands of years of evolution. I did not invent the name “Inner Critic,” Byron Brown has used it since he wrote Soul Without Shame, in 1998. Before that, Hal Stone wrote Embracing Your Inner Critic in 1993, and Matthew Ignoffo wrote Coping With Your Inner Critic in 1989. So, the term has been around a while.

But let’s scratch the itch, here. I know about copyright, but copyright doesn’t preclude me  (or you, or 300 yodeling unicorns) from writing a book about the inner critic. The inner critic is a concept, an idea, and ideas don’t qualify for copyright.

Learn to make this apple pie, complete with micro-lattice from EvilMadScientist.com: http://www.evilmadscientist.com/2008/now-thats-an-apple-pie/

Imagine what it would be like if there were one book on apple pie, or, for that matter, one recipe for apple pie. One, and done. Maybe, if you are generous, one open pie, one lattice pie, one deep-dish, and one streusel.  Or one book on journaling, one book on watercolor. Libraries would be tiny. My bookcases would take up a lot less of my house,  and Cooking Man’s collection (now numbering close to 300 cookbooks) would be down to just one.

Incidentally, here is Country Home’s recipe that claims to be the best apple pie ever. And here are 15 more “best” apple pie recipes from Country Living. The one with salted pecan topping looks pretty good. And the orange-spiced, streusel-topped, cream-enriched Dutch apple pie looks yummy, too. And while I’m on a tear, streusel doesn’t rhyme with doozle, it comes from the German word for scatter (streuen) and it rhymes with Roy-zell. I think I’m done now.

Those three books I mentioned above deal with the inner critic, just as mine will. But each offers a different method, as mine will. And then there is the idea that a lot of books on the same topic allows a lot of perspectives. A lot of solutions. A lot of right answers. Because there is not only more than one answer, there is more than one right answer. And I’m looking to add another.

-Quinn McDonald is writing again. But she’s got her mind on apple pie.