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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Thornton P. Knowles On The Curse Of Fame

I have never been famous, and never will be. Very few writers achieve fame through their books. The best an author can hope for is being respected and known by a fair number of readers and members of the literary community associated with his genre. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, after her baby had been murdered in 1932 in what became the so-called "Crime of the Century," wrote in her journal that fame was a form of death. Amanda Foreman wrote that "Fame is like a parasite. It feeds off its host--infecting, extracting, consuming its victim until there is nothing left but an empty husk. With this emptiness comes the possibility of a long afterlife as one of the blowup dolls of history." A character in B. Traven's story, The Night Visitor, says: "What is fame after all? It stinks to hell and heaven. Today I am famous. Today my name is printed on the front page of all the papers in the world. Tomorrow perhaps people can still spell my name correctly. Day after tomorrow I may starve to death and nobody cares. That's what you call fame." Like I said, I am not famous, and that's fine with me. People who seek fame are fools, and when they achieve it, often act like idiots before being disgraced then quickly forgotten. If you don't believe me, watch TV, or read the news.

Thornton P. Knowles

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