Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fickle Fame

How many people have had a meteoric rise to fame and fortune only to become last year’s old news? How many of those people spend the rest of their lives publicly, and sometime embarrassingly, seeking that elusive fame again? Too many by all accounts. Otherwise we wouldn’t be obsessed with their antics.

Writing for Fame or the Need

Do authors write to become famous, to bask in the accolades of critics, or to spend 104 weeks on the New York Times’ best sellers list? Some undoubtedly do, but few achieve that distinction. Those who write to be rich and famous are, perhaps, among the 80% of Americans who say they want to write a novel. Those who start out writing for some reason other than the need to do so probably don’t make it very far in the business.

Suddenly More Interesting

Don’t we all aspire to some modicum of fame for having toiled to create a completed novel? Think, for a moment, how you felt with you told your Mom or best friend you’d finished that novel you’d been working on for what seemed like forever. Remember the glow that suffused when you told that stranger on the plane that you’re an author and how his eyes widened with wonderment and you suddenly became more interesting - right up to the moment when you admitted you hadn’t actually published anything yet. Even telling him that you finished a novel and had it out to agents didn’t rekindle his interest.

Your fame was fleeting, but it undoubtedly fueled your desire to feel it once again. It is only normal, after all, this desire to succeed, this need for recognition. In our case, success is generally measured by how many times we are published.

We Need to Remember

We all need to remember, though, Emily Dickinson’s deliciously rich imagery about fame.

Fame is a Fickle Food

Upon a Shifting Plate

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