After dinner. Writers' conversation.
I told Ben, "I'm surprised that you read through my shit."
Ben shrugged uncomfortably at that. "Is that what you call your life's work, shit? Because if you call it shit, then that’s all that it becomes."
I leaned away and thought for a minute. "You know what's so special about shit? On one side, you never regret freeing yourself from it. You never feel bad if somebody picked up your shit and called it his. 'Sure, man, knock yourself out.' " -- I paused to watch Ben stifle a laugh, and roll his eyes -- "On the other side, I don't think that what I'm doing is a big deal."
"Oh come on!"
"I mean, what, having thirteen readers can make me ecstatic. Eighteen, sent me over the moon. And so what? Dooce™ has enough readers to support her two daughters, two dogs, a husband and a bathroom renovation."
"What does she write about?"
"Minute details of her life as a mommy."
"Mother and child is a multi-billion dollar industry."
"Just like sex and fashion."
"You write niche. Your niche is boring. You have a niche problem."
"I'm sorry, maybe I'm a tad too market-oriented, but what's wrong with writing for fame and glory?"
"Nothing, except that you have to want it. And I -- being a sociophobic recluse -- don't."