Recently, a writer we know complained about the downside of fame. It seems strangers press their manuscripts on him, relatives ask to borrow money, and beautiful women send him drinks in the hope he'll sign a fleshy part of their anatomy.
OK, I made that last part up.
But do writers ever achieve real fame? Are they gonna live forever?Are they gonna learn how to fly?
The truth is, even if a few writers reach rock star status in this business, not many readers are going to hyperventilate if they see them in a restaurant. Even a household name like John Grisham could probably walk through a mall without getting mobbed. Of course, John Grisham has people who walk through the mall for him.
I'm at an age where the best thing fame would bring is a window seat at Spago. If I went to Spago. But most of The Planet readers are younger, so I have to ask, would you trade privacy for fame? Is Barry Eisler famous? Ian Rankin? Is there an up side to fame beside instant sales and calls from Paris Hilton? And if you did get a phone call from Paris Hilton, what the fuck would you talk about? Her chihuahua? And is Paris Hilton's chihuahua merely a disgusting euphemism?
I'll let you decide.
I'm not suggesting anyone writes for fame, because that would make about as much sense as writing for money, but we've all had that daydream where we open the Sunday Times and see our book at the top of the list.
Mark Twain was famous. Faulkner and Hemingway were famous. Is there any writer today, besides Stephen King, who would have trouble eating an uninterrupted meal in public? I can't think of one.