I remember a book of party questions I’d bought a billion years ago. It was one of those oddly-sized little things that you get on a whim and look at twice. In it, were questions like, “Would you have an ugly scar on your face if you could gain fifty IQ points?”
(FYI – My answer was “definitely.” My friend, who was a legit genius was like, “Fuck no, this brain makes it hard enough to socialize.”)
One of the questions went something like this:
“Would you risk your life if you knew you’d have a bronze statue of yourself in front of City Hall.”
And I mean, no, of course not. That’s crazy. But it did make you think, most of the people cast in bronze were busy trying to do something else when they became icons.
I know a lot of successful authors. Mostly, they’re baffled that this happened to them. They were just busy writing the best book they could.
One successful author I don’t know is EL James, but I bet you she has the same surreal feeling.
(This post is going long, I’m sorry)
She was trying to write a fucking book, and she and Stephanie Meyer did something huge corporations had been trying to do for decades. Get people back into reading.
Most of my readers and fans are absolutely rabid, devouring 3 or 4 books a week. They read books like people used to watch TV, and I cannot tell you how many of them started with Fifty or Twilight. These books ignited a spark that had died because of high prices, inaccessibility, and the same-ole same-ole.
I lay this at EL James’s feet. She didn’t just bring back erotica (which I was writing into locked-down password-protected docs), she brought back reading.
Between her and Amazon’s self publishing platform, I have a career. I have the life I always dreamed of. Did she intend to give me a life? Hell, no. She was just trying to get through her day. But she published a brave book and inadvertently smashed open the gates for people like me who had no hope of making writing into a life.
So, on this week, when your movie is being released, thank you, Ms. James. Even if you didn’t mean it. Thank you.
You can get my books too, obviously. But this isn’t about me today 🙂