From the modern bard’s short story collection, Oblivion, specifically the beginning to the stream of consciousness tour-de-force, “Good Old Neon”, ht DJ:
My whole life I’ve been a fraud. I’m not exaggerating. Pretty much all I’ve ever done all the time is try to create a certain impression of me in other people. Mostly to be liked or admired. It’s a little more complicated than that, maybe. But when you come right down to it it’s to be liked, loved. Admired, approved of, applauded, whatever. You get the idea. I did well in school, but deep down the whole thing’s motive wasn’t to learn or improve myself but just to do well, to get good grades and make sports teams and perform well. To have a good transcript or varsity letters to show people. I didn’t enjoy it much because I was always scared I wouldn’t do well enough. The fear made me work really hard, so I’d always do well and end up getting what I wanted. But then, once I got the best grade or made All City…I wouldn’t feel much of anything except maybe fear that I wouldn’t be able to get it again.
…at only twenty-nine I’d made creative associate, and verily as they say I was a fair-haired boy and on the fast track but wasn’t happy at all, whatever happy means, but of course I didn’t say this to anybody be- cause it was such a cliché — ‘Tears of a Clown,’ ‘Richard Cory,’ etc. — and the circle of people who seemed important to me seemed much more dry, oblique and contemptuous of clichés than that, and so of course I spent all my time trying to get them to think I was dry and jaded as well, doing things like yawning and looking at my nails and saying things like, ‘Am I happy? is one of those questions that, if it has got to be asked, more or less dictates its own answer,’ etc. Putting in all this time and energy to create a certain impression and get approval or acceptance that then I felt nothing about because it didn’t have anything to do with who I really was inside, and I was disgusted with myself for always being such a fraud, but I couldn’t seem to help it.