So I’ve been reading up about the Edgar Week festivities, and it’s been really weird. I guess it’s the mystery world’s Oscars or something like that, but the Oscars are about alien beings from the Nth dimension — they’re not LIKE us. So the fact that the Oscars are extravagant and outrageous and absurd is, at its heart, irrelevant to the actual lives of actual people. It may be entertaining or amusing or shocking, or all of the above, but in terms of its real impact it’s about the same as the activities of those freaky tube worms that live around deep ocean vents.
But the Edgars are about, well. Us. Except I’m a little uncomfortable saying “us,” because us includes me and where do I get off presuming something like that. Still, I know actual people who were there. Real live actual people I’ve talked to in real life — by email, by phone, in person! This morning I was reading Sarah Weinman’s bullet list rundown and I kept thinking, “Jesus, I know that person.” Hell, I know Sarah, a little. I met her at Bouchercon and drank a beer while chatting with her and another fellow. Now, confession time here. I wish I’d talked to her more. I think she’s freaking brilliant, but she intimidates me, so presented with an opportunity or two I kinda slunk into myself. And, yet, still. Here she is chatting about Stephen King and Al Roker in the same breath that she mentions Cornelia Read, someone else who is also brilliant but who I’ve also met and talked to and hugged, for chrissakes.
And it didn’t feel real. I’m reading this stuff, Edgars, Oscars, and I’m thinking, shit, people I know are turning into tube worms right before my eyes. I was watching the first novel category especially close, because that one is the closest to where I am (naturally, the only nominated book that I haven’t read yet is the one which won,) and until the week actually happened and I actually read about it, these first timers were just like me — only much better, of course. Now they’re receding from me. They hung out, after all, in the same room as Stephen King and Dave Barry.
(I once went to a signing by Dave Barry and when my turn came up, my throat closed up and all I managed was a gleek that landed on his sleeve. He took it well.)
And Stephen King, yeah, he’s a genius or something. Definitely. But for me, he’s a tube worm. I dunno, he’s obviously a great writer though to me his writing about writing is better than his actual writing, if you take my meaning. I suppose this is a brazen comment by a who-tha-fuck-do-I-think-you-are-anyway, Cameron, but I’ve always thought King needs a editor with a machine gun that shoot red pencils. And yet, for writers, his On Writing is the closest thing to scripture in existence.
And Donald Westlake? Gasp. Don’t even get me started.
I’m not sure what to make of this. I guess I’m star-struck. I could afford to lighten up. And, probably, not pay so much attention. It’s creating a disconnect for me, seems to be shining a spotlight on my own feelings of inadequacy. Of course, I’m a writer, so what else do I have to shine a spotlight on? (Note to self: get out more.)
I guess the good news, for me at least, is it’s over. For this year. Thank. Freaking. God.
(For what it’s worth, Sarah, should I ever go to the Edgars — and at this point I don’t even know if I’ll ever write another book so that’s a way off prospect — I guarantee you my tux will be rented.)
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