How to Avoid Such Paltriness When You’re Rich and Famous

Once you make your millions from that novel, that painting, that song filling every radio, be sure to keep a tight reign on that ego.

Flavorwire recently compiled a list of “The 30 Harshest Author-on-Author Insults in History,” and not one insult is for the faint of heart.  Take a look:

Lord Byron on John Keats

“Here are Johnny Keats’ piss-a-bed poetry, and three novels by God knows whom…No more Keats, I entreat: flay him alive; if some of you don’t I must skin him myself: there is no bearing the drivelling idiotism of the Mankin.”

William Faulkner on Earnest Hemingway

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

Earnest Hemingway on William Faulkner

“Poor Faulkner.  Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

D. H. Lawrence on Herman Melville

“Nobody can be more clownish, more clumsy and sententiously in bad taste, than Herman Melville, even in a great book like ‘Moby Dick’…One wearies of the grand serieux.  There’s something false about it.  And that’s Melville.  Oh dear, when the solemn ass brays! brays! brays!”

Evelyn Waugh on Marcel Proust

“I am reading Proust for the first time.  Very poor stuff.  I think he was mentally defective.”

What lesson can be learned from these?  Cling to your humanity for dear life even when the temptation to believe in your own divinity lingers near.  Art is such a fickle being.  Although the literary community may shower you in champagne and book contracts on Monday, by Friday you may be back at your humble beginning, writing by candlelight not for the romantic atmosphere but to save money on the next electricity bill.

What keeps you grounded and humble?  Or better yet, what tricks will you pull to keep yourself humbled after the money and attention begins pouring in?