Friday, June 27, 2008

A Warning for the Published

I just came across an interesting tidbit in the June 2008 issue of College & Research Libraries News. They mention that a Rhode Island book dealer just donated three rare and valuable books to Brown University Library. One of them is a first edition of The Great Gatsby autographed by Fitzgerald to the poet T.S. Eliot. Judging by the enthusiastic wording of the autograph, Fitzgerald was a huge fan of Eliot. He calls him "Greatest of Living Poets" and says that he (Fitzgerald) is his enthusiastic worshipper. (p. 359)

Unfortunately, he not only misspells enthusiastic, but he also flubs the spelling of the Greatest of Living Poets' name. (He spelled it "Elliot.")

Now, I often lament the fact that I'm not published. But at least, I'm not in danger of embarrassing myself in this particular way. Lots of other ways, yes, but not this one.

If I ever do get published, I can just see something like this happening to me. I'd be so excited to present some of my own work to my literary idol, so thrilled to show that I, too, am now a part of the literary world. And then it would happen. Maybe an hour later, maybe a day, maybe a year. But eventually, I would see my literary idol's name someplace, and I would realize that I misspelled her name. Down in the depths of my soul, I would know that no matter how great my writing, how brilliant my metaphors and dialogue, how stirring my characters, the literary idol would always remember me as that idiot that didn't even know how to spell her name.

Perhaps I'm just looking for solace. Maybe I'm just downright mean. But somehow this story really cheered me up.