Friday, February 7, 2014
As you can easily imagine, I was not keen to assume a role whose logical end was violent death. As soon as I was alone I began to think better of it. I peeled the tape off before it could mark my face with stars. I woke up with an enormous feeling of relief.
It was a dream about fame.
It seems to me that fame is something unpleasant to experience. My subconscious is telling me this in my sleep. You're thinking, sour grapes. But consider the truly famous. They have the same troubles that all the rest of us have, only they have them in front of everybody. Their illnesses, their failed relationships, even their cellulite appears on the front page of supermarket tabloids. Strangers feel free to insult them, even to offer them physical violence. They die with needles sticking in their arms.
Believe it or not, I was sort of famous once. A little bit famous. I didn't like it. People think it's okay to take potshots at you. You offer your work to the public, and folks you've never heard of sneeringly tell you it's no good. I'm ill-suited for that sort of life. I know, I know, you're going to tell me I should develop a thick skin. But for what? There's no money in it, not for most writers, and no respect either, anymore. I don't need to write. The people who really love me love me whether I'm writing or not. I used to have seventy fans eager to read my books, but sixty-five of them are dead and gone.
Is this an announcement that I'm quitting? Not precisely. I'm going to finish Bucker Dudley and publish it as a paperback to give to the Lambertville Free Public Library, as well as a small number of friends, nieces, and cousins. See what a cool cover I made for it. Also I'm going to continue to write this column, just to amuse myself. But as for wooing New York publishing, never again. Fame, shmame. I'll be perfectly happy to live and die in obscurity. Don't look for me on a panel at Bouchercon.
New York publishing isn't what it was thirty years ago, anyway. The meals those editors used to buy me! The handsome waiters! All I got from my last editor was a cup of bitter coffee.
© 2014 Kate Gallison