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Saturday, 13 August 2011

Fame or Fortune ... Which Would You Prefer?

Fame or fortune? Both? Or neither?

It’s a common idea that we all seek either or both of these qualities in our lives. But is it something we’d really want? We take for granted the benefits of such qualities but tend to ignore the downside. Is there one? Well, when it comes to fame, I don’t know about you, but I’d hate to be recognised everywhere I went. How could I listen in to those delightful and intriguing snippets of conversation that inform my writing, if I was recognised as a writer? In fact, I kept my craft secret even from colleagues at work until I had Breaking Faith published and needed to market the novel. The idea of mob love doesn’t appeal to me at all, either. I’m happy with the real love of those around me; those I know and love. So, fame is definitely not for me.

But (and, as they say, it’s a big butt), I DO want my work to be famous. I want it to reach the largest possible readership because I believe that what I write is worth reading. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do it, would I? It’s one of the reasons I use a pen name. I can walk into any shop, hotel, restaurant or wherever, use my own name and know I won’t be known. But, when the world recognises my genius (yes, it’s possible I’ll be dead by then, I know.) my writing name will be universally known, respected and admired. (For the Americans amongst my readers, I should perhaps explain that I’m employing irony here. We Brits have the irritating conviction that most Americans have no understanding of irony and don’t recognise it, you see).
So, fame for my work, but not for me, thanks.

And fortune?

Money has never really had a hold over me; not in quantity. But, then, I’ve never had a lot of money, so I have no experience of its supposed benefits. I look at the rich around me and in the media and see how shallow and selfish many of them are. I see how they have lost their knowledge of the real world; those who had such knowledge in the first case, that is. I see how their love of materialism and wealth has ruled and governed their lives and their choices and I feel little admiration and a great deal of distaste. Oh, I know some of them are generous with donations to charities and the like. But it makes me wonder, when a rich celebrity makes a plea to raise a certain sum for a specific project to alleviate suffering, why they don’t simply donate it themselves. It so frequently has the appearance of someone trying to look good rather than actually be good. I hold a belief that, as we should have a minimum income for all worldwide, we should also have a maximum income for all. It is inequalities in society that cause most discontent and the wider they are the greater that dissatisfaction.

So, yes, I’d like enough money to be able to live the relatively simple lifestyle I espouse and to give my daughter a good start in life. But I don’t crave the sort of fortune that distorts an individual’s view of the world to such an extent that they no longer understand the lot of most people.
Sorry, this has become rather serious, hasn’t it? My passions sometimes run away with me. I’m sure you’ll find a lighter touch in the other contributions to this blog tour. So move on to the next and enjoy the tour.
Thanks for your time and bruised ears. I’ll take my soap box away now and find another crowd to harangue.

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