The Secret Life of a Bestselling Author

Saturday, Jan 7th, 2006 @ 03:56 pm

For some reason, a lot of people seem to think that once you hit the bestseller lists your life changes. You drink a lot of champagne, eat a lot of caviar, go to a lot of fancy schmancy parties with publishing bigwigs. I’m here to tell the truth.

Tonight, I ate ramen for dinner.

Yes, I’ve hit the NYT list. But tonight, I’m home alone because my hubby is off traveling and my darling son is off with his girlfriend. It’s one of those nights I treasure, a night when I get to do exactly what I want to do, eat exactly what I want to eat.

And so I ate ramen. You know, one of those little Top-Ramen packages (roast chicken flavor). And I popped in my much-loved DVD of “The Fellowship of the Ring”. And it’s been a great night.

“I want to see mountains again, Gandalf. Mountains!”

I hear Bilbo say. What a great line. The Lord of the Rings is full of great lines that suddenly take on new and moving significance when you’re all alone on the couch, sipping a gin and tonic, free to shed tears in front of a TV screen with no one else watching. I’m sure there are some of you who think, “My god, she’s just a dweeb”. I’ve watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy about a dozen times. I’ve watched Galaxy Quest more times than that. I suppose I should be bragging about all the sophisticated foreign language films I’ve watched lately, but I will freely admit that when I’m under stress, I reach for my beloved Tolkien.

When I was in medical school, at the end of a long day of slicing open cadavers, the one thing that saved my sanity was reading Tolkien. Again and again and again. No one else in my medical school would admit to that addiction. It’s only now, when I finfally feel secure in my own sense of self-worth (and it’s taken a long time, folks, to get to this point) that I feel confident enough to admit the fact that I’m just an older, female version of those teenaged boys you see in the video game parlors.

It wasn’t so long ago that I used to go to Star Trek conventions. Dressed in costume. Wearing Vulcan ears.

I suspect this is why there aren’t all that many bestselling authors blogging. They have better sense than to admit that they wear rubber ears in public.

After years of feeling like a misfit, I’ve realized that the world is full of other misfits, all of us identifying with Hobbits — the little guys whom no one else respects. And who quietly end up changing the course of history.

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