As always, I'm on the road. You may credit all infelicities of formatting to the limitations of my ipod.
Recently, on Facebook, I grumbled about the limitations of a book I'd quit reading. Immediately, people wanted to know the name of the author.
But I won't do that.
I understand why people wanted to know. There are many, many bad writers whose works are risibly (this may well be the first time in this century that word has appeared outside of a crossword puzzle) awful. I read their books and I gnash my teeth. So why won't I mock them out and publicly humiliate them?
Because they fall into two camps.
The first consists of those who hopefully put their work before the public eye and got no or little response. If they have done anything wrong (and I am unconvinced they did), they have been punished well beyond their desert. Some of them deserve far better.
The second consists of those who published and profited richly. (You know -- or think you do -- who I'm talking about.). But what is their crime? They wrote novels that tens of thousands of people loved so much that they were willing to spend their hard earned money on them.
There are people within one block of me who have done worse.
Meanwhile, there are many writers whose first allegiance is to the word, who never gave a thought to popularity, and who know their chances of ever earning a decent living wage are small. Should I be outraged on their behalf?
It is a rare privilege to be able to say whatever one wants to say, to be heard, and to earn one's living by doing so. Outside of the arts, how many people can claim as much? Poverty is the chance they took and the price they paid.
These people are my kin -- my brothers and sisters. We understand each other.
So, no, I won't name names.