I had an encounter with a writer who had once been extremely popular and still does very well for himself and makes quite a sum in royalties and ancillary income. I mean he’s a millionaire, so not hurting. I don’t know him well, but we started talking, and he seemed very unhappy.
He wasn’t getting the sales and attention he used to get, and he wasn’t getting the jobs. His income was all from very old work. When he did get jobs, he was forced to work with these upstart young editors who had no business telling him how to write! Why he’d been writing longer than these guys had been alive!
I made sympathetic noises, but the realistic part of me was thinking, “You know, that editor may be a young whipper snapper, but right now, he’s your boss. And who knows, maybe you could learn something?” I mean, that’s how I roll.
Regardless, angry writer dude seemed really unhappy with his fall from the stratospheric heights he once enjoyed. And since I’d never really had a chance to talk to the guy much (he’d never seemed particularly friendly before, and frankly, I’d always found him kind of haughty,) I thought I’d reassess and take a chance. So I invited him to dinner with me and some other pro friends. I thought this might cheer him up. He happily accepted the invite.
We walked back to the hotel, and then he hemmed and hawed, and said he had to run errands. And then he puttered around, carried on conversations with other people, and equivocated. And now that he was a full 45 minutes late, sauntered back to me with a sneer on his face to announce that he simply didn’t want to go. He made a couple of vaguely rude comments about me that left me on edge, that I’m not even sure I understood, but were passive aggressive as hell. And he said he’d decided to go out to dinner with other people.
After leaving us waiting for 45 minutes.
So I smiled and said OK, and hoped he felt better, and then went off to have dinner with George Perez, who is a step up in so many ways.
This came up again because of a conversation with a friend about helping people who have a lot who don’t know they have a lot. I wrote about it on my FB page. It’s a natural impulse to want to help people who are down, but some people have a really funny definition of down. I mean, this dude is so much higher than most people can ever dream of. I bet thousands and thousands of creators would love it if they had steady income and could simply sit down and write or draw whenever and whatever they wanted. They’d never care about being on the bestseller list!
What a dream to be able to do whatever you want with your art!
But this guy didn’t appreciate it. He had to be top dog. Anything else wouldn’t do.
In the end I got dinner with George Perez instead of Mr Sourpuss, so no loss for me.
Totally unrelated picture of blue jay in my window.