2 helpful links I’ve found in the past 2 days.
I can look at this playfully. A man (or woman) writes a story about a journey to The Moon that’s pretty much a straightforward success w/ friends, family and public. The second, which involves a journey inside the Earth this time, is also viewed favorably, albeit with less enthusiasm. You’ve done it once, you’ve had your time in the limelight, others might say here. Or they may invoke elements of imposter syndrome — oh you’re just like so-and-so; *love* his or her stuff (i.e., you are a reflection of his or her greatness). The writer reassesses — there were elements of the second that didn’t follow the pattern of success of the first. He (or she) could then isolate these elements as best as possible: and either eliminate them or accentuate them in the next work. 3rd book, fork in the road. One 3rd book, the elimination novel let’s call it, marks a return to the form of the first in the public’s eye. Let’s say we have our protagonist go back to The Moon for it. *Love* The Moon, others might say (friends, family, public) — just like so-and-so’s work, they might echo. Second 3rd book, the accentuation novel, goes down a rabbit hole, knowing approval from others would not be forthcoming (but still maybe putting blinders on and hoping for the best). The writer sticks to the surface of the Earth, deals with *real* issues he or she sees around them, explores them in depth; rips off masks so precious and valued to people of the time. Could be racism, social inequality, sexual issues, rise of the machine age, to name a couple that come to mind. True to form, most, perhaps even everyone, turns away from the work and the writer, urges him (or her) to get a *real* job (you’ll never be so-and-so). The 3rd book may not even be published or publishable (in its age). Yet this person knows it’s their best and moves forward, out of the spotlight now, even if he (or she?) has to shovel coal for a living. The 4th is even better and expands on some of the best bits of the 3rd. The writer is truly learning to write. The 5th expands on the 4th. The 6th expands on the 5th… (if he or she gets this far, poverty perhaps taking its inevitable toll).
People do not want to see the reality inside them. Fear dominates. Preservation of a mask self that is in denial of the Great Inside. And just plain fear of the new — we all have it. Some also fear a return to the old. Fear all around.
Here I’m thinking more 19th Century than 20th or 21st but maybe I still have a point, hmm.