Challenge Day 14: A hero that has let you down (letter)…
Dear Mr. Koontz,
I feel an overwhelming need to find some closure where you and I are concerned. You see, while I still love you, I’m no longer in love with you, and it wouldn’t be fair of me to move on without at least offering you an explanation as to what has changed. Though I believe in letting bygones be bygones – and I have no desire to make you feel badly about yourself – I need to do now what’s right for me.
You see, I do not idolize celebrity as a rule; I don’t believe that a person is made better by simply being rich and/or famous; and while there are a small handful of actors and musicians that I hold in high regards (particularly strong females that encourage women to stand up and be heard) I do not have true heroes amongst this group. Writers, on the other hand, are a different class of superstar, and as that I fervently wish to someday join the ranks, I think it’s only natural that I have come to greatly worship certain members of this faction.
While I hesitate to use the word ‘prestigious’, one of the highest honours I can grant anyone within my heart and head, is a top 5 spot in my favourite/most respected writers of all time list. One of the only things I love doing more than writing is reading, and though I’ve read many a book in my time (and though I have a long list of authors I enjoy) the top 5 spots are reserved for those who have most inspired me, and have become the heroes to which I aspire.
You were once featured in the top 3; a place you secured for yourself when I was only twelve years old, and held – against all odds – for more than two decades. You were such a force that it was a little awing at times. You had a remarkable ability to weave a tale and you were a fantastic writer (skill-wise) – two very individual talents that all writers must possess at least one of, but you had both perfectly laced together. Yes, there was a time when I believed that our relationship was bedrock-solid. Unfortunately, that time has now come to an end.
I know this is probably coming as a bit of a shock to you, and I am sorry about that. The truth is that when you started to slip down the ranks, it was such a gradual thing that I wasn’t even aware of it at first. You never lost the technical skill that I so admired you for, you see, and perhaps this is why I couldn’t at first see the forest for the trees. Over time, however, you slowly abandoned the originality that made you such a strong influence in my life. You stopped writing a dizzying array of unique tales, opting instead to write one book after another that at some point would turn out to be about a dog. Almost always, this dog was a Retriever and preternaturally intelligent. When I first clued in to what was happening, I thought this was just some phase that you were going through; in my early twenties I went through a two year period where nearly everything I wrote ended up being somehow connected to eternal life; and I figured that you’d write through the fixation and move on.
You never moved on.
Now, I loved Furface – like loved him – and ‘Watchers’ will always remain in my top 50 favourite titles of all time. It was phenomenal without argument, and I’ve read it at least three dozen times over the years. However, just because I’m willing to constantly return to one of my favourite books – that just so happens to be about a preternaturally intelligent Retriever – does not mean I can continue to honour you with a top 5 spot when you’re getting richer and richer by recycling the same basic storyline over and over. Originality is one of the main requirements for the honourees on my list.
Though the golden age or our relationship has come to a tragic end, please; try to remember all of the good times we shared. Ah – and so many fond memories indeed. Remember when the population of Black River became the test subjects of a deadly experimentation with subliminal mind control? Do you recall a certain time-traveling Nazi-scientist with a soft, romantic heart, or young Slim Mackenzie forced to grow up too soon because of his ability to see those awful goblins that were hell bent on annihilating mankind? Surely you recall the time that the good people in the sleepy little town of Snowfield, California suddenly vanished in a Croatoan-style mystery, or that incredibly fast paced thriller about the brave Chyna Shepherd chasing after the murderous sociopath Edgler Vess… that was intense!
Yes, those were the moments that bonded us, and while I thought we would last the ages, I’m afraid that you simply want more than I’m prepared to give; undying worship in the face of grievous disappointment.
Going forward, I hope you can hold on to these memories; I know I will; but I’ve come to believe that we’re just meant to be friends. I swear that – like many of your books – you will always hold a special place in my heart, but I’m sad to say that you’ve left me no choice but to let you go as an idol. To my credit, I did try to hold the spot open for you when you first began to slip, and perhaps, if we’d not ignored the problem for so long, we could have worked through our differences together. Unfortunately, your growing obsession with dogs is something I’m simply no longer able to overlook, and the spot you held for so long has now been filled by another.
Really, in the end it’s not you – it’s me. I thank you for all the good times we shared and I will try to stay in touch.