I haven’t been around much lately (Bad Ted! Bad!) because I’ve been writing a lot (Good man, Ted!).
But I read something this morning that really struck me. I’ve never been a Don McLean fan, despite my friend Barry’s repeated attempts to get me to see the light (You don’t know Don McLean? American Pie? If you don’t, just forget the whole thing – it’ll never make sense now).
Bob Lefsetz (who writes a great blog about music and creativity in a fast-evolving universe) cited an interview with McLean today which included these paragraphs:
1 When you look back over four decades in the music business, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
The main thing I would like to say is that I have become the person I wanted to be. As opposed to reaching goals but being an alcoholic, or reaching goals but having four failed marriages, or reaching goals but having kids in rehab. A lot of people reach their goals, but at a terrific price.
2 Is it safe to say, then, that you never cared about fame?
I had a recording contract with Clive Davis for about a year. He kept sending me wimpy little songs to sing and I didn’t want to do them. So we ended our association. I guarantee you if I had decided to sing those songs, with the production values they would have used, I would have had hit records. But I didn’t want those kinds of hit records. I don’t want songs that don’t mean anything. You wind up regretting it in the end anyway. Because if you get a hit that you don’t like, you’ve still got to sing it.
Emphasis above is mine. I think it’s a great line. Writers thankfully aren’t forced to write the same story over and over, though many of them write essentially the same story over and over by choice. But add this to my file on why I don’t and can’t churn out six books a year.
You live forever with what you do creatively. Your books (songs, poems, paintings, movies, what have you) are your children (along with, if any, your real children). So they’d better be good company over a length of time.
I’ve been working on ‘Mindbenders: The Big Dream’ for many months now. If I have a problem getting finished, it’s that my characters and the situation keep growing and getting more complex as I dive deeper in. So everything’s taking longer than I wanted but Max and friends (and enemies) are turning out to be extremely good company.
I don’t know if the book will be a hit but – and I wasn’t sure of this three months ago – I’m confident it’ll be something I can live with for a long time to come.
And a little plug, for a book I’ve already lived with awhile: my book of post-9/11 short stories, ‘After’ can be purchased in paperback here.