Who’s The Old Guy In My Mirror?
May 1st, 2011
When I began interviewing authors, Ronald Reagan was president, “Dynasty” and “Dallas” were America’s favorite TV shows, and I was still writing scripts on a typewriter.
The New York Times bestseller lists were dominated by names like John Jakes, Frederick Forsyth, Arthur Hailey, Isaac Asimov, and Gore Vidal — fine writers all, and all older than me, some by quite a bit. I’ve interviewed all of them.
Now we’re in the Barack Obama era. “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Dancing With the Stars” are the heavyweights on network television. The typewriter is a museum relic. And the bestseller list is heavy with names such as Nicholas Sparks, Stephenie Meyer, Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, and David Baldacci — fine writers all, and all younger than me, some by quite a bit. (I’ve interviewed all of them, too.)
Then there are Christopher Paolini and Jonathan Safran Foer and Tea Obreht. They are young geniuses.
And I have socks that are older than they are.
Where once I was the young rookie interviewing
crotchety old men wise literary elders, now I’ve been lapped. I am now the curmudgeon likeable older gentleman interviewing brilliant youngsters. Back then, it was a thrill to meet the authors whose work I grew up with, whose novels I read in high school or college. The thrill today is having a conversation with someone I have never heard of before, but whose books will be read by millions, in high school and college, for years to come.
Good for them. Am I a little envious? You bet. But I’ll be happy just to continue interviewing young writers. After all, as they say, them that can’t, teach. And them that can’t write, interview.by