I've been writing professionally for about a decade, maybe a little longer. To me, "professionally" doesn't necessarily mean "paid", but that's probably the definition. Writing's a solitary thing, and you don't always know if you're being read. If you're not, there's no real sense in writing. Without being read, all the work is little more than endless journal entries.
This weekend, Amy and I went up to the World Horror Con in New York. It's a meet-and-greet for horror authors, primarily. Harlan Ellison and Amber Benson were among the guests of honor. Amber we consider a friend; Ellison's one of my heroes. We decided to make the trip.
We had lunch with Michael Gingold, editor of Fangoria, and Scooter McCrae, writer/director of Sixteen Tongues and Shatter Dead. Both these guys have been friends of mine for years, but I was an admirer of Scooter's work long before I met him. He told me that he reads as much of my writing as he can find. "The last two pieces you wrote for B-Movie were heartbreakers, yeah, but I really enjoy your work."
Made my jaw drop, and I took it as very high praise.
Later, at the WHC, once we got over the disappointment of Amber's cancellation, I ran into Mort Castle. Mort's been a writer since the '60s, and he was one of my first professional interviews, back when I worked for the now-defunct GC Magazine. Mort told me that the interview I did with him was among his favorites, and that he still used it in his press kits. "You got me, man. You're one of the only ones who ever interviewed me who really got what I was writing about."
Another jaw-dropper. And I couldn't believe my ears. Because, believe me, Mort's writing is amazing. The man should be heralded as a genius in his own time, but here he was, talking me up.
Earlier today, my review of the Low Budget Pictures movieMulva 2 went up on Film Threat. I've been a supporter of LBP and head guy Chris Seaver for years, even when I didn't particularly dig their movies (more my hangup than theirs, believe me). But I really liked Mulva 2 and did my journalistic duty to let the world know.
I found this on their message board:
"I think Mike nails it in this review! I totally agree with his viewpoints. He says everything the other 'critic' seemed to miss."
That from Andy Copp, who did the mind-blowing, Jodorowski-inspired Mutilation Man. He's another guy I admired long before I got to know him. So this was high praise, indeed!
Then, the next post was from Mulva 2 co-star, the very funny Matt Meister: "mike is seriously one of the best critical film writers at it today. i like his writing even when i don't agree with his views on a film. he always has good reasons for his views."
And, man, that just made me smile. It was honest, it was sincere. It meant that out there, somewhere, were at least a handful of people who are actually reading what the hell I'm writing.
Every now and then, even if you don't care what others think of you, you need a little reminder why you made something your life's work...
Monday, April 18, 2005
Sometimes it's all worth it...