Well, Well, Well

This penguin suspected it all along.

So after taking a good look at the results in Friday’s poll, it looks like the majority of you are soulless sell-outs with no artistic integrity.  Why am I not surprised.

Kidding.  You’re just a bunch of greedy bastards.

Personally, I chose the hidden gem option, but that’s because I’ve never understood how to make myself popular, and therefore carry a deeply seated, reactionary adolescent grudge against everything the cool kids are doing.  Yeah, some of us never grow up.

But really.  As many of us who keep one eye on history and the other on the future (and a third eye on the #RIP hashtag on Twitter), I sometimes think about what it means to leave a legacy.  We’ve been losing a lot of brilliant, amazing famous people lately, known for acts of extraordinary human achievement or immeasurable contributions to comedy, culture, and literature.

And honestly?  I mean really, truly honestly?  I think I’d rather have the tiniest, remotest, most infinitesimal shot of being remembered as someone who left a positive mark on my chosen field; someone who entertained, fascinated, and maybe even got people to think a little differently about their life than as someone who made ten million dollars peddling soapy nonsense to an already addled generation of young people.

You’re joking, Jen, right?

Sigh. Okay, maybe the pigeon has a point.  I’ve been living on a shoestring budget for about a year now, and I can’t say it wouldn’t be nice to spend a few weeks throwing together a piece of zombie and vampire infested, post-apocalyptic BDSM young adult romance and reap the assured rewards. It doesn’t appear to be too hard.

So here’s the compromise: let’s just all agree to write our best-selling toilet paper novels under a pseudonym, buy our beach houses and BMW’s through an anonymous third party, and never speak of it again.  Deal?  Deal.


3 thoughts on “Well, Well, Well

  1. I meant to comment on your original question, but have been busy writing. I had decided that the question is unfair, because who says what is brilliant and what is crap? Half the story is contributed by the author, but the reader takes those bones, and covers them with his or her own experience. If s/he can relate to a book, if it speaks to him/her, if it changes his/her life in some way, who are we to negate that experience? Twilight was like that for me. It reminded me tremendously of my own first love experiences and choices (New Moon was my favourite of the series, which probably tells you a lot). Sure, lots of popular books aren’t necessarily literature, but that doesn’t mean they are unworthy of our time. If millions of people read and enjoy a book, and a hundred people say it’s garbage, I suggest that those millions are getting something out of the experience! Some people think Harry Potter is horrible, I think it’s brilliant. I worship Diana Gabaldon for her Outlander series. Some people apparently don’t like her (not many, though). Brilliance is in the perception of the individual beholder.

    Amusingly, I met with my editor yesterday. The first thing she said when I sat down, was that she thinks I should churn out a huge number of genre fiction e-books to make a lot of money, but that she wants me to protect my quality big books by writing the ‘book out each month’ genre stuff under a pseudonym. Looks like you two are on the same page. 🙂

  2. Well, the question was written to be unfair, because clearly it’s never such a black-and-white choice. There are only a certain number of answers you can put in a poll, however, and I wanted to force the respondents to get to the heart of the matter. Obviously nothing becomes a best seller unless someone likes it, and people are always going to hate what other people find wonderful, but that was sort of besides the point. I’ll leave the discussion of subjective experience to one side, because it’s too complicated for a comment box.

    My problem with Twilight specifically is that for every reader like you, who looks at it as a reflection of their own experiences and mistakes, there are a million naive, impressionable young girls who think of it as the experience they SHOULD have or SHOULD want, and that’s just wrong on so many levels.

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