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Michelle's corner

Michelle Knight. Writer, photographer, programmer, truck driver and general, all round nut case. Life is a journey and that's what this blog will probably end up being. Let's see where we go, eh? ;-)

Currently reading

Your Beauty Mark. All You Need to Get the Hair, Makeup, Glow, and Glam.
Dita von Teese
Progress: 208/256 pages

What price fame?

I'm just about to finish my lunch period and I found the time to work on a few more paragraphs of Genie. (yes, paragraphs only.) It's been a few weeks now and I'm 65 pages through re-working the first draft, which numbers 114.

Before the re-work, it stood at 61,620 words. It currently stands at 63,200 and by the time I've finished it will probably be near 64,000. - I may have written that before... I'm not sure. That's what happens when you work a nine to five, run a house and then try and tackle a novel on top of all that. Things start to merge.

But various things have happened on and off these past few months. The latest was the craziness when Stephen Fry made a joke at an event and ended up giving up Twitter. (again) Before that, it was Ricky Gervaise. (who hasn't given up anything) And the reports on these incidents contain an account of other famous people who have been forced off social media.

They are under the spotlight. In some cases, an unfair spotlight; but not all. The swiftness of social media is scary, however. It can do some serious damage in such short order that in the cold light of a few days later, things might look quite different. Like the Russian woman in Germany who was reported raped; it turned out to be fake, an example of the Russian propaganda machine taking the opportunity to stoke rage. And it's not the only explosive story that mobilised on-line rage that later turned out to be false.

It seems that these days, to be rich and famous is to earn the ability to buy yourself a gilded cage. There's a lot to be said for the ability to roam the shops, free and unencumbered. I mean, I’ve got a job so I can afford the roof over my head and put food on the table. My car is a bog standard runabout, clothes aren’t anything special and I don’t eat at posh restaurants. It would be good to be able to wave a cheque book at the building maintenance, or making the postage-stamp of a back garden a little safer with the casual swipe of a credit card, but realistically, that isn’t going to happen.

When I look back on why I created the web site in 2002, and Companion in 2005, it wasn’t to make oodles of cash; it was to get a message out there. To light a candle rather than curse the darkness. When people asked for more, I got a bit blinded.

Check Mate was to make people laugh. I know I’m no Pratchett, but I do have a quirky sense of humour. Genie isn’t funny, though; but there are other subtle messages in there. So I suppose I’d better turn my head away from the lights of fame and fortune; they will only bring trouble. But what good is a message if no one hears it? What is the point of trying to provoke discussion when people want to talk of other things?

I can’t be in this for the money. The balance sheet states this clearly; I haven’t even made back a tenth of what I’ve laid out; and that’s not including the equipment I’ve bought, which would put that ratio much lower still. And as for the cost of my time… well… much progress has only been won at the expense of leave from work. And I’m taking more this Friday and Monday, as I want to knock the first draft of Genie on the head.

The more I think of it, the more likely that Genie will be the last. What is the worth of writing books that readers, already suffocating in an avalanche of material, will likely never read? The only way would be to strike a deal with the devil and sell my soul to scandal… and that’s just not my way of doing things. Fame comes at a price I am not prepared to pay.