Encouraging Words

“We respond to enthusiasm.” — Robert Fripp, on The Great Deceiver

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a writer all my literate life, and was making stuff up — songs and stories — even before then. So I’m comfortable in saying that I clearly haven’t been in this for money or fame; if I’m resisting success, I’m doing a heck of a job. I no longer think of myself as the cheapest house in the nicest neighborhood, but as someone who belongs in the books in which I’ve appeared; while the short story is no longer the high-octane genre it was decades ago, I’m willing to believe that I seem to have some talent for the form. At the same time, I accept that with very few latter-day exceptions (Harlan Ellison, Joyce Carol Oates), it is unlikely that short fiction is the stuff of celebrity, literary or otherwise.

But that doesn’t mean I want to go unnoticed, or even to be “that one guy… no, not him, the other — Jeez, he’s standing right there.” When I see reviews of the various anthologies in which I appear, they (entirely understandably) focus on better known authors, whereas if I’m mentioned at all, it’s usually as an “also appearing” (though there have been exceptions). And I get it — reviewers have readers as well, and those readers are going to be more familiar with celebrated authors, and more eager to hear of their work.

All the same, it’s a good feeling when I see things like El Bee’s latest newsletter (guest written by his henchman David Trevor), and the following discussion of the forthcoming Playing Games antho:

The anthology is Playing Games, and I took a break midway through this newsletter to upload it, so the ebook is now available for pre-order on most online platforms. The release date is January 31, at which time the paperback will also go on sale, even as Subterranean will be shipping their limited hardcover edition. The anthology got a starred review from Publisher Weekly, which you can read at the bottom of the online book description at any of these sites: Amazon   Barnes & Noble  Kobo   Apple  Vivlio   Thalia  Smashwords

I think of Playing Games as akin to Collectibles. In both cases, LB came up with a unifying subject that sparked a lot of ideas and led to a batch of stories that managed to belong in the same book with no loss of individuality. Once again, the lineup mixes Big Names (David Morrell, Jane Hamilton, Jeffery Deaver, Joe R. Lansdale) with Rising Stars (Avri Klemer, James D. F. Hannah, Kevin Quigley). If I had to pick a favorite, it’d be “Lightning Round,” Warren Moore’s take on barroom trivia.

So I’m certainly not a Big Name, nor I suppose a Rising Star. But a favorite? Yeah, I can be pleased — and encouraged — by that. As Donald Westlake once said, “You go where you’re liked,” and there’s that bit from Mr. Fripp that served as today’s epigraph. Kind of makes me want to write some more.

As if I could help it.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Literature, Pixel-stained Wretchery, Why I Do What I Do. Bookmark the permalink.

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