Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Sometimes I wonder if prolific writers get tired of seeing their names on the covers of books. Stephen King, for example, has got to have gotten over this by now, right? Or Danielle Steel? Or Joyce Carol Oates?

I'm not nearly as seasoned as any of them, so it's probably not strange that I still get an endorphin rush when I see my name on the cover of a book. It never gets old for me, which is probably a good sign. If it ever became ho-hum, I think maybe the magic of being a writer would leave my life.

When I was a kid, I used to take books written by SF writer John Brunner, and I would cover up the -ner at the end of his name with my thumb. I'd fantasize that it was a book written by me. If Brunner's last name was spelled out in caps, I would leave some of the second N, because it would look like a capital I.

OK, maybe that's a little weird, but that's the way my mind worked back then. I dreamed about the day I wouldn't have to cover up part of John Brunner's name with my thumb. It's an incredibly egotistical thing to do, but I couldn't help it. Generally, I think I'm a piece of shit, but this dream fueled my life.

Folks, I've reached the point in my writing career when I never have to do that ever again. I don't even know how many books and magazines there are with my name on the cover. Each and every time I see a new one, it fills me up with an incredible pride. It's the fulfillment of a child's fantasy.

But . . . well . . . whenever I read a Brunner book, even today, I can't stop myself from putting my thumb over the -ner in his name. It's a habit, like cracking my knuckles or twirling my hair. Sometimes, I wonder if I should be telling people how minutes we have until Wapner's on.

I don't know, but I think that for the rest of my life, even if some miracle happens and I'm as popular as Stephen King is now, seeing my name on the cover of a publication will always give me a thrill. If it doesn't, it might be time to retire.

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