Living in a Shadow

I titled this blog post aptly, I think. Yes, I live in the same town as a famous writer. Whew. What a relief. Got that one off my chest. He’s a great guy. I’ve spoken to him on a few occasions and been to a couple of his events in town. He’s done wonderful things with his money—funding charities and building schools. I’m not going to mention his name, but if you did a little research it wouldn’t be hard to figure it out. And for the record, I like him and I love his family.

That said, it’s not a dream come true for an aspiring writer to live in the same town as him. Not only in the same town, but literally right down the river. Well, down the river and around the creek, anyway. This guy has multiple best-sellers, and most of his best-sellers have become blockbuster movies. How do I compare with that?

If I lived in my old hometown, I’d be considered quite a success story by now. If I still lived in many of the other places I’ve lived since then, I’d be a success. A very big fish in some semi-small ponds. And yet, I find myself, a published author—and published by a real publisher, no less—living in the shadow of the biggest fish of all.

It’s not so bad, maybe. A shadow is still shade, right? And shade is valuable in Eastern NC. Sometimes, maybe, it’s quite comfy living in shadow. No real pressure. Hell, whatever I could think of doing as a writer has already been done by the guy that lives a few doors away. But still.

Yeah, there’s that. I want to be recognized for my writing. So I work harder, I promote more. And I write, write, write. I try to learn from my small successes and slightly larger failures. And I stop to look around every once in a while and don’t feel so very alone.

You see, there are a lot of really talented writers here in my town who haven’t achieved the same recognition as the writer I refer to (and he doesn’t need a plug, trust me). They work hard, they publish books, they go to signings. They don’t get the big book deals, but sometimes they get to see their books on the shelves in bookstores. And most of all, they continue to write. I salute them for that.

Maybe I’ll get there eventually.

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3 responses to “Living in a Shadow

  1. I hear you my friend! Just know you are a big fish to me! I am amazed by your ability and feel a crazy amount of pride when I talk about my friend who writes books! Seriously, you have a wealth of talent and I love what you write!

  2. Michelle, we are always in the shadows of the ‘big boys.’ Interestingly enough, those famous writers had to do things the hard way–so much more so than we do now. I think our world of literature has become so saturated that finding new authors that are worth their weight in gold is becoming tougher and tougher. YOU, however, are one of those good authors and I’ve read enough of your work to know that success is just around the corner. You’ve got your start…

  3. Thanks, guys. I didn’t mean this to come out sounding like a whine, although it certainly did. Every now and then it helps to remind myself that whatever I’m failing to accomplish with my writing I definitely wouldn’t accomplish if I wasn’t writing. If that makes any sense.

    Anyway, no more blog posts late at night after a glass of wine. 🙂