by wjw on January 3, 2019

On the first of January I celebrated my fortieth year as an author, the period in which I have supported myself solely on writing and related professions.

I would have mentioned this on the day, but you know what?  I forgot.

It was early on January 1, forty years ago, that I got a phone call from my agent telling me that the first three historical novels had sold to Dell.  The sale had actually been on December 31st, of course, but then she and and everyone else had gone off to publishing parties to celebrate the New Year, and the announcement had to wait till the next day.

“You’re not a writer anymore,” she told me.  “You’re an author.”

I had been off celebrating the New Year myself that night, naturally, so I wouldn’t have got the phone call anyway.

But now, on New Year’s Day, I wanted to continue the celebration.  I started calling my friends, but they were all hung over or otherwise engaged, and uninterested in joining me.  I finally rounded up one chum, and we went to an Indonesian restaurant for dinner.  With an air of extravagance, I ordered crepes suzettes for dessert— but I didn’t know, or hadn’t remembered, that it’s a flaming dish.  The dish was presented to me, and as I leaned over my plate to admire it, the waitress poured on the flaming cognac, and I almost lost my eyebrows.

It would have been a fair trade, though, wouldn’t it— eyebrows for literary success.  I’d make that trade any day.

Clyde January 3, 2019 at 8:46 pm

Congrats. (Raises glass) Here’s to forty more.

pecooper January 4, 2019 at 9:53 am

Ah, so now we know the secret of becoming a successful writer. If the beard had gone up in flames, too, would you have merited the Nobel Prize for literature?

Terry McGarry January 6, 2019 at 7:39 pm

Congratulations! And I’m glad your eyebrows were okay anyway.

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