Why It’s Important to Separate Validation from Creation

Platinum_finalI’m sure you guys knew this already – I mean, what else do you have to keep track of?? – but Platinum is coming out February 25.
It’s up on Net Galley now, if you’re a reviewer type. So, because it is up for reviewers, I’m starting to get feedback on it – which is always fun. People seem to be enjoying the story in the ways I hoped they would. But it’s kind of difficult for me to get as totally revved as they are. It’s several stories ago for me now, so it’s kind of old news.

Which is a weird place to be.

It makes me think of this interview I saw with Barbara McClintock when she won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1983. She was 81 when she received the prize and I remember the interviewer was someone much younger and full of enthusiasm. The interviewer asked if Barbara wasn’t just SO EXCITED about the award. For Jumping Genes! (Transposable elements in DNA) Everyone was just *so* interested in this amazing discovery!

And Barbara looked at her kind of funny and said something along the lines of, “Well, it’s always nice to be recognized, but I did that work forty years ago and I was excited about it then. What I’m working on right now is what’s most interesting to me.”

Which deflated the interviewer a bit.

Interestingly, she had stopped publishing her work on the transposable elements in DNA back in 1953, because she encountered so much skepticism about it. I could really see how being awarded an unshared Nobel prize (the only woman to ever receive an unshared Nobel prize in that category) thirty years later might be a little…anti-climactic.

Not that the incipient release of Platinum compares in any way to the magnitude of McClintock’s discovery. I just think it’s important to remember that the joy of creation – or discovery – remains forever a separate thing from other people’s validation of it. Usually it comes much later and often after they gave you all kinds of shit for doing it in the first place.

Then, later, when they tell you how great this thing you’ve done is, they never remember that they were skeptical, just that they love it now.

Which is okay.

After all – enthusiasm is always to be treasured.