You know you have made it as an SF Writer when...
I just got a Christmas card from Lydia van Vogt, widow of grandmaster A.E. van Vogt, who was wishing me (and herself) good royalties for NULL-A CONTINUUM.
Now, I am not sure this is a milestone in my attempted SF writing career, or in my attempted human being career, when I have been trying to produce some human sympathy and kindness from my chilly Vulcan heart, but I should like to think the second is more significant than the first. My hope is that my impersonating it, it will slowly yet unexpectedly come to be real in me.
Because of that inevitable rule of authorship which requires that an author's own personal favorite of his books is his least well received, I assume that my NULL-A book was lapse into obscurity more quickly than my other work--fame is fleeting, perhaps by cosmic design--but I am grateful to the Providence that decides these things that I was allowed to speak with Mrs. van Vogt, even though I have yet to meet her face to face, for her enthusiasm for the project, and her kindness in allowing me to do it, in other words her faith in me, sustained me where otherwise mere mercantile calculation of my chances of making a sale would have bid me quit. For that I am grateful.
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It may be too early to wish my readers a Merry Christmas, so allow me to wish you a happy day (Dec 13th!) for the feast of St. Lucy the Martyr, patron saint of the blind, or, if you like (we have a lot of saints) St. Jodoc the Confessor, who abdicated a princely crown to adopt a monastic life. It is nice to recollect, in times like ours, that there are some who are famous for their stoicism and self-renunciation, rather than, for example, being famous for their largesse with other people's money, famous for lying about scientific data to people who trust you, or famous for the number of adulteresses you've conquered. Also, today is also Third Sunday of Advent and Gaudete Sunday
Rejoice in the Lord always, ye Christian gentlemen and ladies, and those men of goodwill not Christian, rejoice in that you take to be the Summum bonum
, the greatest good of the many good things and great in life --- the virtuous pagan knows the Good, whether he calls it Logos, or the Unmoved Mover, or Principle, Way, Maat, Dharma, Nirvana, Logic, Truth or Love --- it is better to rejoice in the good (even if we dispute perhaps about its nature and origin) than to live in sour cynicism and sour scorn, pretending nothingness is wisdom or pretending wisdom is nothing, to dismiss the good as being unworthy of dispute, because the former options opens the possibility of joy in life, and the latter closes it.