Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 71

Wow, I've just posted my 300th reviews.

It seems only yesterday when I started my journey as a "professional" writer and the gig with Actors Ink was my first (and only) regular paying gig. I still remember writing my first review (of Butterfly Effects starring Ashton Kutcher), and my thought was exactly this: "It isn't all that difficult. I wonder how long this job will last, though." Well, a few years later, I'm still writing, and I've earned enough to call myself a real writer.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't mean to say that if you don't get paid, you're not a writer, or the fact that I'm writing weekly reviews makes me a serious writer. However, I think getting your first job and getting your first check is always going to be some kind of a milestone. There's no real magic in the number 1 or 300, but it's a milestone. It means: I'm doing it.

I'm rather proud of that.

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Speaking of pride, a couple of writers really pissed me off. I know it's just a matter of opinion, but what some of these writers say about the profession of writing bugs the hell out of me. Their assertion is that it doesn't matter who writes a book, and whose name is on it (it could be Adolf Hitler for all they care) as long as it's a good read. To me, it shows a fundamental disrespect of writers and the profession of writing, and reduces everything to mere "productization" of literature. So, really, are they really saying it doesn't matter if the Harry Potter books were actually written by JK Rowling, or Stephen King hasn't written any books for the last 25 years -- nameless writers wrote them for him? Do we just want the endorsement of a name, a brand? Are we so commercialized now that being a writer means only one thing: the paycheck and a BRAND?

It's one thing for people like Tom Clancy who has a factory of writers to write books for him. Yes, he puts his huge name on the cover, but he also credits the actual writer with a byline on the same cover. He doesn't claim to have written those books.

Pamela Anderson and Naomi Campbell made no attempt to hide the fact that they didn't write their novels, and they credited the work to their ghostwriters.

I am surprised to hear some writers say it's perfectly okay to let some celebrity claim credits for the creative work (that he or she did not do) as long as an "agreement" has been reached. Fine, it's a business -- everyone wins. But don't pretend to call it "honest."

There's really such a thing called "honesty."

Would you be okay if the Beatles album you bought wasn't really performed by the Beatles?

Or the Rembrandt painting you paid through the nose at the auction wasn't really painted by him?

Or the Spielberg-directed movie that wasn't really directed by him?

It's okay as long as they put their names on the product, right? As long as you don't know or care who actually made it regardless of whose names are on it...

Is this what being a writer mean to you? Kind of like plumber and carpenter and they guy who cleans your gutters. Nameless professionals as long as you like the work they've done.

Gotcha.

Excuse me for wanting to put my name on the cover of my books and take credit (or blame) for MY work.


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