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Entries in Complacency (1)

Monday
Apr032006

Dealing with complacency. Or, why I’ll get around to writing a funnier headline later

homer.jpgI was having lunch with friends, playing Suck/Doesn’t Suck. One of those useless things my friends do. (Like getting drunk and winding up naked and stuck in a kiddie-swing, but that’s another story).

The lunchtime consensus was that Richard Marx and Michael Bolton do indeed suck. But that the Kinks and Lyle Lovett don’t suck. There was debate about Cheap Trick, John Mayer and even Barry Manilow.

The real head-scratchers were Billy Joel and Sting. Incredible in the early years. But their last albums clearly plowing the soil of Suckville. We reasoned that when they were young, they were hungry troubadours, but once they "made it" they lost their anger. Lost their passion. Lost whatever it was that made their music worth listening to. (Damn you Betty Ford Clinic, damn you).

With that in mind, do you reckon (I just used the word reckon) that this happens to NYT bestselling authors? Do they get complacent? Is this why it takes Thomas Harris so long to write a follow-up book? And does Stephen King’s Cell have the sparkling edge of his earlier books––granted, he did more drugs than Courtney Love in his early days.

Do successful authors get complacent? Does your favorite author get better, or worse, as the books roll out? What about you?