Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mistaken Identity

Today it happened again. I got an email from a fan, thanking me for my very helpful book DIALOGUE TECHNIQUES. That would be lovely, except that although I've written three books on writing fiction, none of them is called DIALOGUE TECHNIQUES. According to amazon.com, Gloria Kempton wrote that one.

Over the years I have been asked to autograph books I didn't write, thanked for stories I never heard of, and (once) reviled on a panel for a novella penned by another female SF writer, who happened to be nominated for an award in the same year and the same category that I was. This happens to all writers. Allied with the phenomenon is the fan who says airily, "I read a lot, but I never remember authors." His or her privilege, of course. But the fact is that writers want to be remembered. We're greedy little creatures, whether we admit it or not. Yes, there are a few Thomas Pynchons and Cormac McCarthys and J.D. Salingers out there, who either just avoid publicity or openly disdain readers, but they're rare. Salinger may seal all his current writings away in a safe so none of us plebes out here can soil it, but most of us want to be seen, noted, remembered for our work. We have you in mind, at least subliminally, while we're writing it. We hope it will appeal to you. We want you to behold our idiosyncratic visions. In that sense, writing is an act of narcissism: Look at me! Or at least at the product of my mind!

With or without the technique of dialogue.

5 comments:

Elver said...

Your post made me want to take the bible to a book signing and thank the author for writing such an eye-opening book...

Nancy Kress said...

If you do, let me know what She signs!

Elver said...

"To Elver, the world's greatest kisser. You are my gift to Earth's women."

BuffySquirrel said...

I have this tendency not to remember the names of authors whose writing I like, or even the titles of their books or short stories. It's a bad habit! There I am standing in the bookshop and it's, "oh, who wrote that story I really liked...wonder if they have a book out...oh, no idea...oh well...."

It's because I engage with the story. (I like to think) I tear past the cover, the title page, the acknowledgements thanks the introduction notes on the author the preface the prologue NEVER MIND ALL THAT--the story! there it is!--and start reading.

I always mean to remember who wrote it.

alicia said...

my name is alicia harrison im from beaumont texas i may never find this sit again i dont have a computer but i just wanted 2 say god bless u all the way i feel u have blessed me