Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Secret option C.

by Catriona.

"Would you rather have fame or fortune?"

I'm assuming that "as a writer" is understood, and that changes everything.

For one thing, the most famous writer in the world isn't all that famous anyway. J.K. Rowling can still sit typing in the cafĂ© in Edinburgh undisturbed. Really. I've seen her there. Of course, she does it with some kind of magical facial expression. If she could bottle and sell that "don't even think about it" look she'd be a rich wo- Oh.

And even if a famous writer gets recognised and mobbed by fans, they're book fans. They're readers. They're not natural mobbers. I'm trying to imagine a crowd of readers screaming and fainting and snatching the clothes off the back of . . . Stephen King. But I'm failing.


I got a bit flummoxed when I first met Mary Higgins Clark, but all that happened was I stepped back in case she thought I was standing too close and I tripped over the tripod stand that the "Mary Higgins Clark" poster was propped up on. It made a clatter but no security was involved.

So, all in all, I think extreme fame for a writer isn't enough actual fame to spawn a monster. I'm going to Harrogate today and I'll be seeing Simon Brett, who has just been awarded an OBE and a diamond dagger and is having a special reception thrown for him. If he expects me to curtsy and/or is now travelling with a personal grape-peeler, I'll edit this blog to reflect it.



How about fortune?

We hear a lot about people whose lives are ruined by lottery wins but, again, I think it's different for writers. I don't know anyone who does it for the money and I don't know anyone who would stop doing it if they suddenly had a wet ton of money. And money wouldn't really help with any bit of the core of what being a writer is. It wouldn't bring ideas, or a publishing deal, or a sympathetic editor, or readers, or good reviews, or an extension on the next hand-in date.

Of course, a huge steaming heap of filthy lucre would bring some incidentals: a hired publicist, a PA, freedom from a day-job, research trips with leg-room on the plane and a posh hotel room . . . but those things don't bring ideas or readers either.

So I'm going for secret option C. I'd rather have writing. If that's guaranteed I'll take the lie-flat plane seat and PA, please. (But I want to keep going to the Post Office myself because I like the people who work there and I'd miss them.) And then if I had to accept being so famous that klutzy fellow authors backed into tripods, I'd cope with that too,






7 comments:

Paul D. Marks said...

I think you're right, Catriona. I don't think any of us write for money, but we might have to sing for our supper because of what we get paid...

Art Taylor said...

Good points, Catriona, and interesting about J.K. Rowling still writing in coffee shops.... though I have to disagree on King. We had him visit Mason for Fall for the Book a few years ago, and I saw fandom at its finest (or, um, worst). It's not quite Beatlemania, but he was indeed lucky to still have his shirt at the end of the evening.... We'd kept his hotel secret, but word leaked out somehow, and there were people camped out in the lobby when we got back late that night after the event.... and still waiting in those same seats the next morning when I picked him up for the airport.

In those cases, you see the price of fame--the flipside of the fun of it.

Meredith Cole said...

Option C! Love it, Catriona...

Susan C Shea said...

I think we've all chosen option C, haven't we, and are obviously not paying heaps of attention to A or B in our daily lives. But the first class plane seats and someone to do PR? Yes, A+B+C would make that lovely.

Cathy Ace said...

An Option C? Really? Hmmm....sometimes it pays to break the rules ;-)

Catriona McPherson said...

Simon Brett report: still absolutely the same as ever.

RM Greenaway said...

It's no fair, because I didn't know there was an option A+B+C. I'm going for that one too then. :)