Tuesday, September 3, 2013

By the Byline

This morning I had one of those rare experiences when a young lady asked me, "Hey, didn't I see your byline on a fishing article recently?"  And before I could answer, another lady chimed in, "Yeah, I read it, too."

Now, this may not sound so odd if my name were Stephen King, but the fact is this was an obscure piece of writing tucked inside an outdoor magazine and published only last week.  So what are the odds?  

But here's another oddity.  I don't fish.  Used to.  And I don't go outdoors much anymore except to pee in the woods.  (I find this keeps the skunks at bay.)  But over the past two years I've written several stories for the magazine including one about fly fishing and another about the Indiana beaver population.

So when a person tells me, "I saw your article on fishing in Michigan," I gotta think there are forces at play that are beyond the kith of mortal man.  I would get just as many lightening strikes if I were to walk down the street and ask perfect strangers, "Hey, buddy, have you read my recent essay on the parables of the Desert Fathers?"

You see what I mean?

And here's another thing . . . who reads a name?  I mean, I've read hundreds--no--make that thousands of articles where I've never bothered to check the byline.  Heck, what am I saying . . . I've read entire books where I couldn't tell you the name of the author afterwards.  I'm doing that now, writing book reviews as fast as I can tread water.  Having written ten book reviews in twelve days, I couldn't pass the Jeopardy Quiz if Alex Tribek said, "And the answer is . . . this author's sophomore novel was just read by you this morning at five a.m. where, by lamplight, you wrote a tired and lackluster review using what you believed were cute puns."

Yeah, I actually did this at five a.m. this morning, but I don't know the author's name now.  Hours have passed, and I've eaten a heavy lunch and kept it down.  That book is now read, shelved, and stowed away in a cardboard box and I'm reading another book whose author I won't remember as soon as I finish this blog . . . .

But go figure.  Remembered by a byline . . . .

Makes a guy wonder.  Perhaps I should be writing under another name.  Like Cornileus McGillickudy.  Now that's memorable.    


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