I’m very aware of my own insignificance. I know that I’ll die and be forgotten, just like everybody else. Even if I manage to survive by some “Kilroy was here” action, the sun will eventually red giant all of this out of existence. Still, sometimes I wonder if it’s something I said. You see, I really didn’t know where to start when I published Holy Horror. I was an editor myself and thought maybe the secret handshake would earn some kind of attention, but no. And when I wrote both Nightmares with the Bible and The Wicker Man, both were with established series. And in latter cases, the editor I was working with (long-term employees, both) left. Left before the book was published and I was left wondering. Was it something I said?
Not to brag or anything, but I’ve got about the lowest self-image a person can have. When life beats you up repeatedly, starting at a young age, you quickly learn your place. But still, all this leaving. I’m a member of a faith community (if you want to know which one you’ll need to get to know me personally). This particular tradition requires a meeting with the minister before joining—something that makes good sense. The first church where we tried this, the minister was in the process of leaving and couldn’t schedule us in. Then we moved and in our new area, the minister left about a month after we started attending, before we could meet. Was it something I said?
I ask this question half in jest. Still, having a father leave when you’re only two or three, you start to question just about everything. I’m sure retirements, new opportunities, or just fedupness with the job (which I certainly understand) caused these changes. But then I was ousted from three jobs in fairly quick succession. During my interview at Rutgers University the chair of the religion department said “You must feel like you have a target painted on you.” Leaving is a natural part of life, I know. As an editor I know that leaving such a post is somewhat unusual because where do you go from here? Ministers, well, they’re leading the charge during the great resignation. Maybe they’ll become editors? As for the rest of us, we’ll just continue to spin dizzily on this globe until old Sol stretches his arms and lets out a big, red yawn. I won’t be here by then, but wherever I am at that point, I’ll be wondering if it was something I said.