23 October, 2009

Authors and Arachnids

I’m thinking about doing a series of blogs on all the sleazy predators out there who have no particular talent themselves beyond the ability to zero in on their preferred victim: an up-and-coming hopeful with wishes and dreams, someone who possesses a sacred, God-given gift to write or paint or sing or act, but more importantly, possesses a wallet. I've heard those predators referred to as sharks, snakes, vultures, leaches, creatures lower than whale dung, but in my mind’s eye, I see a being whose body is dominated by one simple body part: the open hand. And who’s got more hands than a spider?

If you think about it, the arachnid really does conjure up the perfect image. It can sit down beside you, cross its legs and still have six appendages available to dangle carrots, rifle your belongings, stroke your ego and feel around in your pockets all at the same time — and still have two hands left-over: one proffering the pen with which to sign on the dotted line, the other covering its mouth so it can simultaneously hide the drool and the gluttonous smile.

And where’s the harm? After all, it’s not asking you for all of your life savings, just a portion of it — in advance, please. But it’s okay, it croons, as it begins spewing platitudes and sugar-coated venom, it’s such a pittance in comparison with the jewels I will one day lay at your feet: ten minutes on Oprah, sixteen column inches in the New York Times, a Hollywood contract, the Nobel Peace Prize and, on your way to the Pearly Gates, nothing short of canonization.

Now I want to ask you a question: has the following ever happened to you?

You go to the dentist and he informs you that you need a lengthy, expensive, invasive procedure known as a root canal. You’re in pain so, obviously, you agree to go ahead with it, but you’re apprehensive. You’ve never had one, you don’t know what it’s going to be like, you don’t know what you’re going to feel like. Of course you’re going to do it, you’re just nervous. And then it happens.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry, every butcher, baker and candlestick maker in your life and dozens of them who are not in your life are suddenly in your face telling you that they, too, had a similar experience. When you got out of bed that morning, you didn’t know anyone who’d ever had a root canal but by suppertime dental patients were crawling out of the woodwork.

You know what I mean. Even if it’s not about the dentist, it’s still happened to you, right? An insurance claim, a car accident, a delayed flight, a bad meal at a good restaurant. Whatever the circumstances, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. We’ve all experienced the same phenomenon: If it’s happened to you, it’s happened to a dozen others who never once thought to mentioned it before, but suddenly have an overwhelming need to tell you all about it now.

That’s how I know I’m not alone when I say I spend a good portion of my time dodging the sharks and the snakes and the vultures. In fact, I’m in very good company. “Everywhere you turn,” sings Sarah McLachlan, “there's vultures and thieves at your back.” Wannabe’s — people who wannabe nothing more than in my checkbook.

And it really is a shame. It’s a sad commentary on humanity that no matter how much we evolve, we will always be divided up between the predator and the prey; we will always have to contend with shallow, hollow, miserable leaches who have nothing to give and therefore nothing to lose and therefore no problem devastating the dreams of the talented, the dedicated, the idealistic — as long as they get to line their pockets.

I've been up most of the night thinking about one such predator in particular, a person working overtime to ooze their way into my life with brazen demands of unfettered access and dubious promises of silver and gold and riches beyond imagining. I’m grateful I've been blessed with this gift worth coveting, and I’m equally grateful I've been blessed with the wherewithal to recognize a well-disguised arachnid when I see one, and I know that I will, along with the rest of us who have something of value to offer the world, spend the rest of my life en guard. I just can’t help but sigh in frustration when I think about it. Such a waste of good energy.

Oh, one final thing: Yes, I know — the way an arachnid’s body is structured, it cannot actually sit like humans do, but it makes a heck of a good image, doesn’t it?

Copyright © 2009, All Rights Reserved


  1. Ohhhh and yes the "Spiders" also multiply swiftly....:-))!

  2. I'm not sure how quickly they multiply, but when they do, they are zillions of them!

  3. You hit the nail on the head when you said they have no real talent other than feeding off of artists with a wallet. Man, I cannot tell you how many of them came knockin' on my virtual door the day my book was published. It's almost comical how they try to tap into the fear motivator when they say such things as, "You're book will never make it big without my help." (And, oh yes, they loooove to promise an appearance on "The Big O" show.)

    Um....who said my sole objective is to "make it big"? I write because I HAVE to, because it's part and parcel of who I am, because I want to share a message--not because I have an ego need to someday "make it big." (Hey, I wouldn't complain if that happened, but that's not my primary motivator to create and to write.)

    Art of any kind is a craft, not a commodity. It's not something to be hawked like a used car.

  4. Vicki, you are SOOOO right!

    I write because I have a need to express what's in my heart and soul. It's not about money. If it was, no one would ever write - because we work for a year or two, put EVERYTHING into it and never know if there will ever be one red cent at the end of it all.

    Good writing is about the story, not about the almighty dollar.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Pamela, As someone who spent years seeing the darkest places of human existence, I know first hand what you mean. Since reading your novel and blogs and learning what I can about you (hopefully soon our coffee together will only prove my vague impressions correctly), I feel as though you are a sensitive, caring and very gifted person. It pains me slightly to hear that you have these feelings. Of course despite being an idealist myself I know that there is a true dark side to human nature. A need to take advantage, to ride on the wave of anohter's success. I can only hope that the vultures leave you alone soon and that you will have your "gold" and notoriety that you most certainly deserve. AB Fitzgerald

  6. Thank you so much for saying all that. I think maybe people can learn something about me thru my writing. I mean, if I didn't care about it, I couldn't successfully write about it.

    As far as the vultures go, they will always be around, so I suppose it's my job to protect myself - close the circle around me as my publicist would say - and just do what I do best without paying them much mind.

    Glad you enjoyed my book. Maybe one day we will discuss it over coffee....


  7. You actually wrote about something I have been thinking about...and I am so glad to hear you put it so succinctly. What a gift you are, Pamela!

  8. Brilliantly put.

    I seem to be seeing a proliferation of this type of creature in the medical field and it's absolutely nauseating.

    And add to this the arachnid subspecies: the loathsome creature hacker/spammer/internet scammer. I've had my blogging and social networking experience infected a dozen times in the past two weeks.

    I look forward to reading the book!

  9. Allison, what YOU said was brilliantly put. Arachnids are all around us and, yes, they are QUITE nauseating.

    Our best defense against them is to keep the lines of communication with those we trust and respect open and network like crazy so we can support each other and look out for each other.

    Be well!

  10. Hi, Pamela! I'm in the middle of your book and loving every page! I've gotten so involved in the story, that it isn't until after I put the book down and taken myself out of it, that I remember....Wow! I know the author!

    Yes, arachnids ARE everywhere, and sometimes closer than you think. There are several who have taken advantage of my kindness, and I've lately discovered yet another one who has been sucking me dry.

    Your words are spot on. Going forward, I will continue to be kind, but no longer at my own expense. I am so thankful for the caring and honorable friends I have who introduce me to other trustworthy people in their circles!

    Congratulations, Pam, on this awesome novel!