Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Ode to Gregarious Loners
Just the other day, literary agent extraordinaire
Nathan Bransford blogged about what authors can and should do to promote themselves. This was framed in relation to the amount of publicity provided by publishing houses. The central message being that God helps those who help themselves, in a manner of speaking. Nathan is always erudite, sparkling and witty and this post was no different, ending with a reminder that even Cormac McCarthy went on Oprah.
Yeah, that Cormac McCarthy--self described "gregarious loner," author of All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, the Stonemason and The Road, to name a few of his works. Is that not the BEST description you've ever heard??? I love that description. I'm absolutely barking mad about it. I mean, it lends itself to so much wonderful contrast and conflict in an oxymoronic kind of way. But I'm swaying off topic here in my word-induced state of glee. The reference to Cormac McCarthy started me thinking about other gregarious loner author types. Sometimes they're gregarious or sometimes they're just loners, that's key--the loner part. A few names immediately sprang to mind: Charles Bukowski, J.D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, and others of the ilk where their literary notoriety isn't tied to any of the current media outlets. A paraphrase of a quote usually attributed to Bukowski is one of my favorites: "It isn't that I don't like people, I just like 'em better when they're not around." People, that is cash money gold-level genius even if it is a screenwriter's interpretation of the man.
The question that's been raised, by Nathan's excellent post, is what level of success is achieved if you don't press the flesh and help the process along? Is it possible in this day and age for the brilliance of the writing to make up for a multitude of other shortcomings? Or do you have to listen to the tune and then get your dancing shoes on?