Day 114 – Face in a Crowd

Forgot to mention — had one of my articles quoted back to me not long ago. It was a piece I did as a freelancer for my local paper. I was talking to a friend of a friend who told me a little factoid he’d read a few days before. Turned out it was from an article I’d written, which he didn’t know at the time. Pretty cool — I think that’s the first time it’s ever happened to me.

I think that’s one of the things I’d get the greatest charge out of, people quoting me (or, more precisely, my books). You hear about musicians talking about watching the crowd mouth the lyrics their singing during a concert or something, and you think (or at least I think), that’s pretty cool.

Why is that? Why do I get excited about that sort of thing? Is it because it’s proof I’ve made an impact on the world? Is it the traveller in me, knowing that at least my words are getting some mileage? Maybe it’s an immortality thing, that my words will live on?

I suspect it’s probably all three (and more). And I don’t think it’s just me that feels this way. The immortality thing especially — many writers have out-and-out said that is one of the reasons why they write: so they’ll be remembered. That used to be a big motivator for me too, though now maybe not as much. (Kids seem to fulfill that immortality urge now…!)

I think it comes down to this: so many of us are just faces in a crowd. It’s by necessity — we can’t know all the millions and millions of people who live around us. But millions of us can know just a few. I think most of us, to varying degrees, want to be part of that few. We want to be famous, not for fame itself necessarily, but because it reinforces within ourselves that we are, indeed, special.

The irony of course is that these days it is almost working the other way around — writers have to be famous already. Take Paris Hilton, one of my favourite go-to comparisons. She never would have been a “writer” if she hadn’t have been famous first. Publishers want to bet on her book, not because she’s a good writer (someone actually wrote the book for her anyway) but precisely because they knew people would buy the book based on her name.

This isn’t precisely new. “Known” authors usually sell better than unknowns, of course. But fame seems to be playing more of a part in the whole publishing thing, to the point now that you don’t even have to be a writer to get a book out there.

Is that good or bad? Leave a comment, and let me know what you think…

~Graham

(Novel Writing Totals)

Hours Today: 1
Words Today: 1,543
Hours Total: 75.5
Words Total: 103,189

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