Monday, June 1, 2009
Me Too Charlaine
I was drinking my early morning tea, reading the New York Times, when I laughed out loud in recognition. It was a wonderful article on the delightful Charlaine Harris, and just like I often do, although not quite so eloquently, she felt the need to justify herself as an author. “Like many a commercial writer, Ms. Harris wishes the literary establishment would pay more attention. ‘I think there is a place for what I do. And I think it’s honorable’.”
I loved when she confessed that her two earlier series, despite being well-written, had never taken off. That sometimes it’s not the writer, it’s the timing, the market, the publishing house – nothing seems to align right with the stars and the books just don’t sell. And then, out of nowhere, it’s the Age of Aquarius and everything is shiny and new – and yes, you can savor it, my yes, you can savor the moment. Frankly, Charlaine’s explanation is so much better: “It was just a huge relief that I finally hit on the right character and the right publisher. I had this real neener-neener-neener moment.”
First, isn’t it amazing that even Charlaine Harris has these moments of doubt and still feels compelled to point out that what she writes is art and has value too. Forgive me, but there are times when I look at some national book award nominees and I’m convinced that they are sponsored by the manufacturers of Prozac. I mean if the reader isn’t thoroughly depressed by the last page of the book, then it’s just not art and not worthy of attention by “serious” readers.
The truth is I love books that let me escape the reality of laundry, bills, and dust bunnies the size of, well, bunnies, that litter my house. I don’t need books to get depressed. I can do that on my own, thank you very much.
A toast to Charlaine Harris and all the other writers who provide me a puzzle to solve, more than a few laughs, maybe a vampire sex scene or two (oy!), and characters I love.