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Authorial reluctance

Aug 13, 1996 12:48 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

Martin, in today's digest, mentions that published authors on
the list have been reluctant to go into detail about their
works in progress.  I only remember one question about mine,
and thought my response sufficiently detailed.  If anyone cares
to ask anything more about my approach to Cayce, feel free.  Perhaps
this reference didn't include me, however.

Without commenting on the specific dispute at hand, I would
like to remark that the expectations/demands some people make
on authors are really incredible.  Sometimes, people want or
expect free books on the basis of acquaintance with the
author.  That's minor.  But in a few cases, something more
annoying has happened to me.  People assume than an author owes extensive
justifications or defenses of his work to any individual who chooses
to criticize or challenge it, even hostile total strangers, and that
there is no limit to the extent to which this can be expected.  I have
experienced just a few cases of this, including someone who falsely
claimed to have read my books and demanding "proof" in long
angrey letters, in ways that made it clear he had not.  This is harassment.
I have seen the problem 100fold with David Lane, who gets daily email
from angry readers and non-readers alike.  Ken Wilber discusses this
phenomenon in a recent Quest interview; he seems to get huge piles of mail
from people who expect him to devote vast energies to answering their
complaints and arguments-- and regard him as arrogant for not
doing so.

Writing a book is an exhausting process, and most authors don't
want to be further exhausted by subjecting themselves to
interrogation by unfriendly critics, before or after
publication.  Especially when experience shows that this kind
of thing becomes a tar baby, and every attempt to placate your
critics only makes them more implacable.

I hope this makes clearer the position in which authors find
themselves, whether or not it is relevant to the case at hand.

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