I’m a modest man (even if wise and fabulously good-looking) and don’t expect people to read my books in huge numbers – largely because they don’t.
Today an old friend sent me a message with photo showing that a tourist in Luxor had with her (I’m guessing “her”, but get real – I’m not Jeremy Clarkson) a copy of my latest: THE ENGLISH LADY MURDERERS’ SOCIETY
I’ll come clean. I have only once encountered someone who was actually and physically reading one of my books. This was in Jersey in 1988 and he was a guy who would sit at breakfast in his vest reading the Daily Express. The book was bought second-hand (I asked).
I mention this because it occurs to me that so much of life is experienced in miniature and we have to accept (and I think we do for the most part) as much from these small events as the Great Ones of the Earth do from their great achievements. However the difference is not just in their smallness but in the fact that one success or handful may have to suffice us for a lifetime.
Meryl Streep figures in the Oscars umpteen times. But my daughter figures only once as second camel in a Nativity play. And once upon a time a guy in his vest in a cheap hotel read my book.
I imagine that, had he lived, Stieg Larsson would have encountered many people in the act of reading one of his books. But he didn’t live. It’s a cheap comment to say I’d rather be me than him. As if it mattered.
There are many writers who are more successful than me and many less. The advantage of being published – even if one’s success is modest – is that one has no sense of missing out on the experience. No feeling of being cheated. Speaking personally, I had my shot and it is what it is. I don’t complain, but I do wonder.
What comprises “enough”? Should we be content to act the part of second camel in a Nativity play?