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Hyperion April 1, 2005

The Hyperion Chronicles

“There’s no shame in being a pariah”

#345 Such Sweet Sorrow

“All Men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.”

-H. L. Mencken

I must be honest: I am not sure I got into this column with the purest motives. I remember wanting to become a better writer, which I more or less succeeded in doing, at least on a small scale. I wanted to meet new people—especially chicks—and this perhaps is my greatest doing. I’ve met people all over the globe, and cherish those relationships. I wanted to eventually make some money at it, either through subscriptions or someone reading my stuff and saying, “Wow, he’s good. Let’s hire him.” In this, I have obviously failed utterly. I can’t get regular readers to pay; why buy the cow when you get the milk for free? For whatever reason, the newspapers and magazines of this great land do not seem interested in what I have to say.

While perhaps self-motivated, I don’t think anyone could reasonably say they were terrible goals. To hopefully be able to do what you love for a living; that doesn’t seem so bad. To meet a bunch of new people, and yes, impress ladies; there are worse ways one could go about it. To become a better writer; one would hope that would be inevitable when you have written as much as I.

However, these reasons above—true as they are—are secondary, tertiary and quaternary. Much as I hate to admit it, my primary goal has always been feedback. I hoped to start a dialogue with people. Get them discussing great ideas. Maybe just my ideas. Whatever. I’m sure there were some noble intentions there, but mostly I just wanted people to notice.

And they did, to some extent. Occasionally I managed to get people’s attention (usually by pissing them off), and the floodgates would open. I remember when I wrote about a last meal and other “lasts.” I thought it was no big deal, only to get hundreds of responses. When I wrote about the Q-tip? My email was jammed for days. Then there was the time I wrote a column entitled All Women are Martyrs…my server crashed at the volume of response. Good times.

Now they seem so long ago. These days, no matter what I write, the register barely flickers. I think (he said vainly) I’m getting a lot better at this, but my ability to move people—at least to take the time to frame a reply, angry or otherwise—has waned considerably. What passes now for a lot of return mail two years ago would have had me depressed for days.

I heard once that in the NFL, it is very difficult for a coach to stay more than ten years. He can still be the greatest guy in the world, but there are only so many half-time speeches one can give, only so many motivational tools and instructive wisdom before it is “been there, done that.” Perhaps it is the same with this column. It’s still good, maybe, but its ability to move people, to inspire them, to simply raise their hackles has worn off.

I still get some mail—from supportive relatives, from would-be Mrs. Hyperions, from some mysterio in Georgia who delights in cryptology-but even that abates as time passes. Most often, I barely hear back anything at all.

Every writer I talk to says you write because the work is important, not because of the attention you receive. What can I say? I am not that magnanimous. Frankly, producing this column, as well as MovieHype and Hyperion X is simply too much time and energy for zero remuneration, and little to no feedback.

I still want to be a writer, but it seems that my time and energy would be more productive spent elsewhere. I have numerous other projects I am working on, and I will be devoting my full time to them. Since this will be my last column, I would advise you to keep it the hopes that it would one day be worth money, but to be honest, there’s not much chance of that.

I don’t have the words to sum up how I feel about this experience or all of you, and they would probably ring hollow anyway. So, let me allow a couple of other wordsmiths to say my goodbyes for me.

“Good night, Good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

-William Shakespeare, from Romeo and Juliet

“Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.”

-Garrison Keillor

Walk in the Light,


April 1, 2005


Thanks to Koz, who talked me out of saying I was leaving to become the next Pope, on the grounds that many would be offended, although at this stage, I seriously doubt that many would care enough to let me know about it.


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