I read the essay "For My Brothers and Sisters in the Failure Business" by Seymour Krim (1922–1989) many years ago and thought nothing of it.
I just came across it again this morning. It reads differently at mid-life when, like Krim, who was fifty-one when he wrote it, I realize my life hasn't solidified into one particular form--and isn't likely to now.
I was never as ambitious as he was, so I don't feel the same sense of failure, but I do share the realization that "later" has already come and gone. (I'm only ("only") fifty-seven, but that's beyond the "later" and its deliverance that my teenage self was expecting.)
More than that, Krim's description of America [written in 1972-3] struck me differently this time around---it fits so well what I see in fandom:
"Young kids today shoot movies in their heads with themselves as the leading character..."
Is that something to be cautious of? ...becoming, as Krim says, "victims of our enormous appreciation"?
Fandom can be a trap and/or a chute: you can stay in someone else's Marvel-ous world, or you may end up making your own wonderful & crummy movie--I mean simply breaking through the inertia to make it would be wonderful--a real marvel.
This is a wonderfully slippery essay:
it's genuinely bitter about the author's failure to do one big thing (a bitterness I discounted when I was younger, thinking, "If you can write like this, you aren't a failure," which is not the point), and yet it doesn't want to throw out the American dream that you can scoop up all 32 flavors of identity either.
It's also fun to read.
From "For My Brothers and Sisters in the Failure Business" [PDF], by Seymour Krim
. . .
This essay is included in The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present, 1995, edited by Phillip Lopate.