After my mini blogging-rebellion last week where I tried not blogging for a while to see what happened, my Corporate Masters have been sending me little reminders of my place in the world every morning. They come on little engraved cards slipped under my door. The one this morning read “We have your book, no one knows what you look like, we could hire Richard Grieco to play you at readings and no one would know better.“
This is sadly true. Back in 1999 when I sold my first novel, the unlamented Lifers, I thought I would be famous almost immediately. This did not happen. When Lifers was reviewed in The New York Times Book Review in 2001, I thought, well, this is it: Better prepare for fame and paparazzi.
Recently I signed up for World Fantasy Con in Saratoga, New York because my publisher will be there and has promised to buy me drinks. Buying me drinks is the one sure way to get me to do anything; even the wife now offers me liquor in exchange for small chores at home. I got the mass email from the organizers asking if I wanted to be part of any panels or if I wanted reading time, and I emailed back saying, probably no to the panels–who wants to know what I think, anyway?–and yes to reading time if there is any. I didn’t expect to be added to the bill, to be honest, but they asked a question so I answered it.
A day later, I got a puzzled email from one of the WFC honchos saying, in effect, no offense old chap, but who in hell are you?
Such is the life of an unknown, albeit published, author. I’ve got a blog no one reads, a forum no one uses, and a book no one has yet heard of. Yet the glamour quotient people assume is connected to being a published writer continues to be way out of proportion–everyone expects me to be living the Hemingway life. Or at least the Dave Eggers life. Or possibly even the Dave Barry life–all of which assume no day job, a nifty income, and plenty of book tours to keep one busy.
I don’t want to be famous, and occasionally consider measures to stop that from happening. What I mean is, I don’t want to be recognizable. Famous in the sense of everyone buying my books and talking about me at parties? Sure. Bring that on, and quickly, because my wife The Duchess has set a very high income bar for me to achieve before I can quit the day job. But what I don’t want is to be on Gawker.com or something like that. I want to move through my life with my hideousness blurred from the world.
Whenever I consider measure to ensure this, however, I quickly realize that so far no power has been strong enough to break through the thick layers of obscurity that surround me, so I am probably safe.
If you ever do recognize me, as Tom Hanks says in the new Simpsons Movie, please leave me be. Just send over anonymous drinks.