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Author Archive

My Writing Caves by W.D. Gagliani

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I scan my cluttered writing space and it’s clear why I so often retreat to “The Office” – the other office. That’s what I call my local Starbucks, where the friendly staff knows my “usual,” chats with me about their lives and my books, and feeds me a pretty eclectic mix of music that lets me avoid getting captured in my own music, a constant danger when I listen to favorites (which the iPhone/iPod sometimes makes too easy). But there are those times I haunt the lower level office that bears the weight of my book collection, thousands of books on thirty-odd bookshelves, plus crooked stacks on tables, and even the floor. As a writer (or more honestly, hoarder) I tend to save everything. But it’s not only the clutter that’s distracting – it’s all the toys and, um, weaponry I’ve collected over the years that can force me to diverge from a carefully thought out writing session.

So why would an avowed pacifist collect weapons, anyway?

Even as a kid, I was always interested in history, and military history grabbed me the hardest. Let’s call it an interest in “conflict.” Later I would learn to enjoy most those stories blending the historical with the fictional. But it wasn’t only historical elements that excited and inspired me to explore various eras. As a writer, I’ve learned that the best hook any story can hold out to snag readers is conflict. Sure, you need interesting characters, but without some conflict they’re just sitting there gazing at their navel rings, right? A bit of war or fighting or crime or bullying goes a long way to making those characters even more interesting. And because conflict all too often leads to the use of weapons, I’ve been drawn to the technology of war and aggression.

This is why if you look around my office, you can chart my fascination with conflict. You can spot four working replicas of .44 caliber Civil War six-shooters (all of which have been christened by black powder and lead ball). But that’s not all. There is a series of covert daggers and fighting knives including a Sykes-Fairbairn, several bayonets and a brass-knuckles-topped trench knife-style combat blade, throwing knives, and more folding blades than I can count. A set of rather sharp hira-shuriken (throwing stars), a blowgun, several crossbows (one of them a crossbow pistol), a four-foot razor-sharp replica of a hand-and-a-half medieval sword, a Gurkha knife replica, an ABS plastic knife (designed to elude metal detectors!), lead-weighted gloves for dirty fighting, several realistically styled CO2 air pistols including one with a laser sight, a couple pump pellet guns, and a more standard gun cabinet with a selection of firearms. The place oozes books and weapons.

And if I had a bottomless budget I’d go even farther and indulge my interest in, for instance, German military handguns such as the Mauser Broomhandle with the wooden stock/holster, the P-08 pistol better known as the Luger, and others like the P-38. I’d invest in one of the better katana replicas. And I’m definitely in need of a compound bow, preferably one with a laser sight.

It occurs to me that a search warrant would probably land me in hot water – I’d become one of those guys. You know, with the strange arsenals. The neighbors would say: “He was quiet, kind of a loner… I never imagined…” Sure, try to explain your fascination is based on history and research. But how can your characters use a weapon you’ve never even held? Anything can be faked, but your fiction will always be more convincing if you’ve handled the hardware.

My writing cave is also home to my other passion, represented by some vintage synthesizers and a Hammond M-3 tone-wheel organ that needs work (it’s like a classic car project). Just a few steps away from the books and the weaponry lies a wasteland of decidedly less deadly hardware: a group of 4 Korg synths, a Roland digital piano, an ARP Axxe and Sequencer, a couple Casio synths, some Proteus and Yamaha rack modules, a PAIA Vocoder, and my more recent additions: a Kaossilator and a theremin.

When I’m in the home cavern, I can look around and see my werewolf cop hero Nick Lupo’s two main interests: weapons and prog rock. And I can get lost in them myself, because so much of Lupo is me, minus the lycanthropy. Then again, when I need to just work, I’m better off at the other office, where I won’t get distracted by all the toys. It’s a constant struggle against my childish urges. But do I really want to grow up? I’m not sure writers ever really do. Or should.

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Big Kindle Boogie – Prizes!

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Hey, look, in the interest of  public service, I’d like to point you to the Big Kindle Boogie, a contest in which you can win a Kindle Fire and/or a bunch of ebooks! Details below:

WIN A KINDLE FIRE IN THE BIG KINDLE BOOGIE

10 Free Kindle Fires, 75 free ebooks, $300 in gift cards, a $500 library donation! Entries for 10 free Kindle Fires are already underway at http://bigkindleboogie.blogspot.com and gift cards are bing randomly awarded on Twitter for those who tweet about the Big Kindle Boogie.

 

On Feb. 1-2, bestselling thriller authors J.A. Konrath, Blake Crouch, Scott Nicholson, Lee Goldberg, and Scott Nicholson are making 75 Kindle books free on Amazon. They are also making a $500 donation to the local library of one Kindle Fire winner. They are also releasing the five-book Ultimate Thriller Box Set for free during the event. Contest is international, no purchase necessary. You can also join the Facebook party at http://www.facebook.com/BigKindleBoogie.

 

Three easy ways to enter:

Everything free, everything fun. Good luck!

Classic Review

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Mad Dogs

By Brian Hodge

Cemetery Dance

Brian Hodge Layers Crime Novel with Philosophy (if you look for it)

(November 2008)

When Jamey Sheppard pulls into a remote Stop-n-Gulp, he has no idea the drive to his imminent wedding is about to go terribly wrong. Jamey’s last acting job was portraying wanted fugitive Duncan MacGregor for a TV re-enactment on one of those crime shows. But the boozed-up deputy who mistakes Jamey for the real MacGregor doesn’t want his autograph – he wants a bust. While frisking Jamey, a freak accident occurs and the cop shoots himself dead. Almost before he knows it, Jamey’s on the run for real, wanted for the deputy’s murder. The whole world’s watching and turning Jamey into a star, if he can only survive. For unfortunately, it’s not just the police who are on his trail, but also a dysfunctional family of criminal opportunists, a revenge-driven friend of the dead cop, the real sword-wielding outlaw Duncan (who wants to meet his alter ego), and some rather incompetent but motivated hitmen sent by… but why spoil it for you? There’s more to this zany novel than its surface action. It’s a serio-comic road caper that screams nihilistic existentialism from every page while poking society for its cult of news and infotainment (and the blurred lines between them), short attention spans, and greed culture. Hodge’s work (World of Hurt, Wild Horses, The Darker Saints) is always deeper than it seems, here recalling Bradley Denton’s Laughin’ Boy when examining how television and the media tend to shape our realities.

Classic Review

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Dirty Martini

By J.A. Konrath

Hyperion

The Drinks Books Continue to Deliver a Punch

Like a long gulp of the titular drink, this fourth Jack Daniels thriller goes down smoothly but kicking. Chicago insomniac homicide cop Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels is up to her ears in family trouble again when a madman dubbed “the Chemist” goes on a poisoning rampage intending to bring the city to its knees. Saddled with an eccentric mom, a father she didn’t know she had, a killer house cat, a loyal but suddenly reticent partner, and a marriage proposal, you might think Jack doesn’t have time to mess with crazed mass murderers, but you’d be wrong. The Chemist soon develops a bizarre relationship with Jack, toying with her in “Dirty Harry” style even as he targets cops all around her with his deadly traps. Narrating in a deadpan comic pseudo-noir first person that alternates with the Chemist’s creepy point of view, Konrath will keep you in stitches even as the killer parades around the city, dosing random innocents with rare toxins and diseases. Of course, he has a grand finale in mind, but will Jack catch on before it’s too late? Konrath’s thrillers are sometimes shockingly dark, yet breezy and fun – all action and humor, perfectly laid out for the screenwriter. If you like the taste of this Dirty Martini, stock the bar and mix up a Whiskey Sour, Bloody Mary, and Rusty Nail, too. Your funny bone may never be the same. And you may never look at a salad bar the same way again, either.

Classic Review

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Declare

By Tim Powers

William Morrow

ABSOLUTELY STUNNING HISTORICAL FANTASY/ESPIONAGE TALE!

(March 2001)

Note: Review originally published in BookPage

 

Although my favorite Tim Powers novels will always be The Stress of Her Regard, The Anubis Gates, Last Call, and On Stranger Tides, there is no doubt that Declare belongs in the top ranks of fantasy novels this or any year. Marketed as straight espionage fiction (which may or may not be a mistake), the novel weaves a subtle web of supernatural strands around various political events and time periods, successfully constructing an elaborate subtext based on elements as varied as World War 2, Middle East politics and folklore, the infamous Kim Philby British spy case, the Arabian Nights and Biblical references (of which the title is one). Oh, and add a tragic and very believable love story between characters fated to resurface as enemies. Tim Powers is the foremost American magic realist, and a novel such as Declare can only serve to reiterate and drive home the point.

Old and new book reviews to be added to M&M blog!

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm

As many of you know, the Gagliani half of the team of Benton & Gagliani has been a book reviewer since 1986. His book reviews, articles, interviews and other nonfiction have appeared in publications such as The Milwaukee Journal SentinelCemetery Dance, HorrorWorld, Chizine (The Chiaroscuro), Hellnotes, BookLoversBookPageHorror Magazine, The Scream Factory, Flesh & Blood, Bare Bones, and various others. A rather lengthy list of reviews written originally for The Chiaroscuro can be found in alphabetical order by title at http://www.chizine.com/williamsreviews.htm. Of course a fair number of reviews have also been posted at Amazon.com over the last few years. Some of those older (“classic”) reviews will now be posted to this blog for your “blast from the past” enjoyment. They have all appeared somewhere before, and they represent some of W.D. Gagliani’s favorites over the years. Newer reviews will also start appearing here, mostly just following the patterns of his reading. Enjoy!

Some thoughts about the Dorchester situation

In Uncategorized on April 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I’ve been a Leisure (Dorchester) author since mid-2005, when my Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel WOLF’S TRAP was reissued in mass market paperback. I had the distinct pleasure of being told my book “had legs” and that a sequel would be most welcome, and so that one sale became two, and then three, and then four (although the fourth would turn out quite differently). Leisure published my three novels between mid-2006 and mid-2010. In fact, the third was published only two months before the implosion of which we now speak.

I’ve held back saying too much about the Dorchester fiasco – and the resulting boycott – due to many reasons, but foremost because I feel some sympathy for the people there I’ve met and/or corresponded with over the years. In my experience, everyone I have ever dealt with personally at Leisure has been unfailingly friendly, professional, responsive, and helpful. From the famous editor of the horror line, Mr. Don D’Auria, all across the board, I can honestly say I’ve never had a conflict with anyone there and I’ve felt nothing but good will for everyone. Unfortunately, we all know something has changed, and I’ll get to that part in a minute, if you will bear with me as I approach this overall issue a bit more obliquely.

It’s not my intention to “defend” Leisure’s tactics of late, but I want to present an alternative point of view to the perhaps all-too common “Leisure sucks” response now making the rounds. Let us all agree, Leisure Books was never a place to get rich. Advances and royalties were low by industry standards. I knew this going in, and I still chose to publish with them. I had heard many say that Leisure never paid royalties, but in my experience, I was paid and on time – up to 2009. The way the contracts are worded, it takes a full year after publication before authors see a sales statement, and if the advance hasn’t earned out, there are no royalties. In my case, there were royalties because the first book earned back its advance quickly. There were second and third printings of WOLF’S TRAP. The timing of the second and third books was such that I would only have seen a statement for the second book in late 2010 – and I did not, because the implosion had taken place. Several things coincided: no statement (which probably would not have carried royalties with it yet), and no payment for the aforementioned fourth book, which had been turned in mid-2010. The advance was to be paid in two installments, one on signing the contract and one on turning in the book, and neither of those took place. And then, suddenly (to me, anyway), at the beginning of August 2010 the problems led to a sudden change of course, dropping the mass market line, and shortly after that, the release of the editor who had made the line legendary.

Let me take a moment to explain why I call it legendary. As mentioned earlier, it wasn’t the money that made one aspire to write for Leisure. There were two good reasons. One, everyone knew distribution was good. Your book would reach grocery stores and bookstores and drugstores and truck stops across the country. Who doesn’t want their book seen by that many people? Sure, paperbacks have a shelf-life barely longer than that of the fruit fly, but it’s better to burn out than to fade away – and what’s a six- or eight-week stint on the shelves but a quick flaming and disappearance? Unless… unless your book “has legs.” It sells well, it’s reprinted, and still sells well. And you write a sequel, and despite the odds you have something of a career. Leisure Books gave me that. Fulfilled the dream I’d had since I was, oh, probably seven or eight years old. That was one thing. Distribution was good, and it led to fan mail and an occasional check. I could live with that.

The second reason to aspire to write for Leisure was the sense of community with “everyone who was everyone” in the horror field. I mean, you can’t downplay the fact that your books were now appearing along with books written by the likes of some of your idols (Richard Laymon, Edward Lee, Jack Ketchum, Gary Braunbeck, Tom Piccirilli, John Skipp, Graham Masterton, Ramsey Campbell, and Doug Clegg, to name a few) as well as a whole new crop of great writers, of which you were now legitimately a part. No, you weren’t going to get rich, but you were going to feel like a legitimate author.

And then the implosion happened and things changed overnight. Sure, everyone knew the economy was struggling and books are a luxury after all, so sales were down. Maybe this would mean fewer titles published. Rumors had circulated for a while about Dorchester’s dire straits, and the possibility of Bad Things to Come was certainly in my mind, if not everyone’s minds. But I didn’t predict what would happen. Staff let go, warehouses shut down, creditors lining up. A new business model was floated. Ebooks – the future is now! – and trade editions in, and mass market paperbacks out. All right, I was willing to stay on board with that notion. Why not, I had a book just out and a book coming in the pipeline. And then the release (let’s be kind) of the editor who had gathered all that talent, Don D’Auria, among others. That was the beginning of the end for me, though I gave it a pass for a couple months.

Now the distress was multiplied. Not only was your editor gone, not only was the staff decimated to the point where it seemed nothing could get done, but the company bigwigs, the executives, the suits, the CEO-types, whatever you want to call them, insert epithet here, they decided that the way out of the mess was to stop paying writers the pittance royalties and advances we already expected, and to continue publishing and selling until they could get themselves out of the mud. But how long would that take? And what of the money earned but not paid out to authors? Would we ever see it?

Think about this for a minute. Here’s a company dependent on the content writers create, openly deciding to simply do away with author payments.

What an incredible solution to a problem, couched in utter disrespect for the very content that makes you a publisher and the people who create it, without whom, does it need to be pointed out, a publisher wouldn’t exist in the first place. According to the suits, you see, everyone BUT the writers deserves to be paid for their work or services. Everyone BUT the writers must be paid to keep the company afloat, even if the leaky ship is afloat only by riding the backs of the underpaid writers who always did keep it afloat. What kind of sick karma is that, one wonders, shaking one’s head.

Frustration was why I pulled that fourth WOLF novel from their clutches. After all, they as much as admitted I wouldn’t get my advance. Not in advance of publication, and possibly never. Royalties? Well, it might take two years after publication to see legitimate royalties, and the company might well have gone belly-up within weeks or months, so you do the math… how smart a move would it be to give away a year’s work for (maybe) a chance at the pittance they only sort of possibly promised except it wasn’t really a promise, more of a hope or wishful thinking? Of course I pulled that book, and now it is elsewhere, again in the pipeline toward publication.

Even then, given all that, I stayed aboard the leaky ship a little longer. Maybe they’d resurrect. Maybe a white knight, or more likely a white light, would appear. Maybe, possibly, hopefully. I stayed partly because I still like all the people I’ve ever met and/or dealt with there, at Leisure. I don’t know the suits. I only know the people who were left to bail out the bottom of the hull as the ship dipped into the dark waters. I know people there who’ve always been nice to me, helpful and friendly, and yes, even responsive and wonderful. And they’re still there. And I feel terribly bad to have decided to abandon ship. I did it reluctantly. As the year began, I allowed and enthusiastically endorsed several promotions guaranteed to sell more of ebook editions of my three WOLF novels (the paperbacks were locked away, impossible to find). I purchased small stocks to sell my fans (I still have some, please write!). I Facebooked and Tweeted prompts for people to buy these books at discounts and full price and everything in between. I was sincere about helping sell some books. After all, someday I might reap the meager rewards. Meanwhile, my agent had repeatedly requested at least part of the money owed and, when that failed to elicit any response other than the equivalent of “We’ll see,” he had begun to request simple sales statements – because other publishers courted for possible reissue of the three WOLF novels wanted to know, rightly, what some of the sales numbers might tell them. Months passed and, despite, continued politeness and good will, no sales statements arrived.

Two months ago as I write this, I lost the last shreds of my thinly-stretched patience and instructed my agent to request rights reversals to the three WOLF books. Leisure has been in breach of contract by not providing even mere sales statements. Please note, we requested statements, and received nothing. Weeks later, one of the better-known authors that made Leisure such a good place to be, Brian Keene, realized that books the rights to which he had been granted, were still being sold as ebooks, and some were being added even after his initial request had been granted, he had complained again, and he had been assured the practice would stop. Brian Keene wields a fair amount of power in the author community, and the boycott of Dorchester was born, starting with a handful of authors (of which I was one, if not exactly among the first) and eventually spreading to hundreds of small presses, reviewers, publications, authors and fans. It was with some amount of sadness that I chose to join and endorse the boycott, because – once again – I have never had a negative word to say about any of the wonderful Leisure people I met or dealt with over the years. I recognize that this irritating, frustrating fiasco is not their fault, and I do not blame any one of them for it. Only the suits. You know, the people who probably have nothing but disdain for the “product” their own company needs to survive. The people who cannot understand that they have cut their own throat, while sacrificing the wonderful people who worked for them. I recognize that we will probably end up killing the very publisher that granted some of our authorial wishes and fulfilled our fantasies. Perhaps if the suits had listened and understood what the writers were saying, this wouldn’t have happened. All I can do is offer apologies to anyone who will doubtless be hurt by this – anyone who works for Dorchester (Leisure) and will suffer due to the outdated and unimaginative practices of the people who now run the company. It appears their disdain knows few bounds, because some sales statements are now being mailed (“suddenly” you might say, when before there was only silence – the boycott at work!), but apparently small payments owed are being reserved for those authors who stayed, not those who left… and whose books are still being sold in both paperback and electronic versions. The state of limbo has just grown in size.

Leisure Books may not survive the situation. I, for one, will be sorry to see them go. They were not the end-all and be-all, but they fulfilled MY dreams in many ways, even if not financially. I want them all to know I thank them – everyone there I ever dealt with and anyone who helped me struggle through my earliest days as an author. I want you to know I don’t blame you. When I think back on my days as a Leisure author, all your names will come to mind as people I respected and admired, and I thank you for all you did for me and my colleagues.

W.D. Gagliani
April 7, 2011

To Indie or Not to Indie, part 1

In Uncategorized on February 14, 2011 at 8:36 pm

To Indie or Not to Indie, part 1

As if the writing life weren’t complex enough, now we also have to face a new sort of decision-making.

Should I become my own publisher?

There certainly hasn’t been a better time for it. In years past, there was vanity publishing, where you paid thousands of dollars to some company to print your book and fill your garage with beautiful copies you’d probably never sell. Sure, if you were a marketing whiz, you might sell some, or all. The mythology is full of stories in which inspired writers went out and hand-sold so many copies that they were noticed by Big Publishing and given huge contracts and advances and then they Had Arrived. For every one of those stories there were probably ten thousand less exciting tales of garages and basements filled with dusty unsold books.

But, hey, people play the lottery, and look at THOSE odds!

There was also self-publishing, which differed from vanity publishing not because of a lack of vanity, but because at least you spent your money as your own publisher. Like building your own house by subcontracting out the work, you were in charge and contracted out the printing to a company that didn’t care to fleece you, they just got paid for their work. If you were a good cover artist, or had an artist or graphic designer friend, this might work reasonably well. You’d probably spend less, have more control, and end up with a better product. But maybe there’d also be the same full garage or basement.

The web brought about self-publishing with POD, where you could do all the work and pay only for a small batch of copies, sell them, and reprint more, all for much lower per-unit cost. Better, but still not likely to rocket to the top of any bestseller list. And places like Lulu came about where you could do the POD thing much more easily and without any major outlay of cash, paying only a percentage of every sale. Not bad, and a fair amount of books came about this way. Some small-time publishers used this method, like POD, to print some books that might otherwise not have existed. I know, because I had stories in a few such anthologies. Good credits, even if I didn’t make much money, or (in one case) any money at all.

And then ebooks came along… ten years ago. Yes, by the year 2000 there were ebooks and ebook readers. And barely anyone noticed. Well, some folks did. Romance and erotica readers, I’m told, embraced the new technology. I did, too, publishing my first collection as an ebook through one of those ebook publishers who sprang up seemingly overnight. Sold a few copies, too – enough to buy a couple pizzas. Eventually, my publisher disappeared… or was swallowed by another, like fish in the big, bad ocean. I’m not sure what even happened to my ebook. Spit out into the sand, deep underwater.

And then the REAL ebook revolution came along, the one named Kindle.

And the rest is and will be history.

Because it started a gold rush of sorts, a gold rush that in a couple short years is coming close to toppling traditional publishing as we knew it. There may be a little life in trad-pub yet, but it’s a fish gasping for air on a beautiful, sandy beach. Maybe the tide ill bring with it a little life, but then it’s get swept up again and left high and dry. Just a matter of time.

Now we have good options for self-publishing, because Amazon, the Kindle’s Dr. Frankenstein, gave its Creature more than life. It gave the monster a backstory and a personality and a humanity you can’t argue with: actual money payments to writers who decide to upload and sell their own books. And a marketplace full of people looking to buy.

Suddenly “going indie” means a lot more than it ever did.

Going indie can really pay off. Just look up Amanda Hocking, J.A. Konrath, Karen McQuestion, Zoe Winters, and others (name-dropping here courtesy of the legendary Konrath blog). And even if you aren’t like any of those lucky people, it can pay off well enough to make a lot of sense.

Books agents couldn’t sell, or backlists that had been forgotten, books that were “close” but hadn’t passed some arcane test of whether readers would buy them, tests administered by admittedly myopic publishing houses… these books suddenly gained new life, or first life.

The monster begat more monsters.

And the decision became both easier and more complex.

To go indie or not to go indie.

NEXT: Let’s take a look at the implications, and why the decision can still be complex.

W.D. Gagliani

2-14-11

Coming soon…

In Uncategorized on February 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

 

Coming soon in all e-reader formats.

Making It.

In Uncategorized on February 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Farther back than I can remember, probably as far back as my mother can remember, I’ve felt compelled to express myself creatively. Whether it was sitting with pencil and paper after watching the late Saturday night monster movies, to sketch my designs for the next mammoth foe Godzilla should face, or attempting to create a new fiend to terrorize some future AD&D campaign, or listening to – subsequently learning – and then mutating a Geezer Butler bass line to make it my own, this compulsion has never waned.

As people tend to gravitate towards others with similar interests, in the course of years I’ve had to good fortune to meet a lot of very talented individuals. It’s humbling when I think of all the truly gifted musicians, artists, and writers I’ve had the opportunity to meet and, in some cases, work with. And this doesn’t even take into account the great deep thinkers with whom I’ve discussed and debated ideas until the candles burned low.

And yet I don’t know anyone personally who’s “made it.”

Despite knowing musicians who have had major label record deals, preformed with bands that had gold record sales numbers, or recorded albums that inspired future generations of musicians, and knowing award-winning writers and writers with multiple mass market paperbacks in print available in every major bookstore chain, I personally don’t know any who’ve been able to quit their day jobs and create – on their own terms – full-time.

This isn’t to say that I don’t know writers who earn their living writing; writers who teach creative writing or English classes, writers who write for the local newspaper, or who work as technical writers during the day so they can knock down a few precious words of fiction at night. I can only assume that most of them still hope to one day land the major book or movie deal that would free up their time and allow them to put their imaginings to paper day in and day out.

I can say the same for musicians, as I know many who earn a full-time living by giving lessons during the day, and playing a variety of music styles (generally to whoever pays the most) at night, working as studio engineers, or manning soundboards at concert venues. This is a far cry from signing tits with a sharpie and taking a limo to the Lear jet.

It’s not for lack of talent. And it’s not for lack of work ethic, as many of these individuals are tireless. And I would hate to think that it all comes down to luck. As I age, I tend to think that maybe it’s about skewed expectations.

When I was younger, I just assumed that anyone who had a major label record deal, or sold a book to a publishing giant, was set for life. As I study it more closely, I find time and time again these individuals returned from the experience and settled into a life more ordinary, usually never reaching the summit of the mountain, but finding a niche somewhere on the slope before descending again: writers who penned one great novel, or one unforgettable short story, and then disappeared never to be heard from again; musical groups who created one masterful recording and then disbanded, or were never again able to capture the perfect blend of rhythm and melody to keep them relevant. Or even more often, artists who were inspirational to me but were somehow overlooked by the rest of the world, the ones who made such a small ripple in the pool that if you weren’t in the right place at the right time you would have missed it entirely.

The bottom line is that, though it would be nice to see some money trickling in, I don’t expect to retire early. And maybe I’ll never be able to quit my day job. Maybe I’ll never “make it” as an artist, a writer, or a musician.

But that’s okay, I’m in good company.

 

David Benton 2/12/11