For those of you who don't know, prepare yourselves: William Gibson has a blog. For those of you who did know, please try to keep the snickering down.
Or, he had one, anyway. He's not posting to it now, which is just as well; he's too busy writing his next book. And while he may not necessarily be putting fingertips to keyboard, his mind is doubtlessly marinating in its own juices and soon some of that cream we all end up contextualizing as a story will surface and he will write it. That's what he does. It's his job. And thank God he does it.
At any rate, there is a sort of deification that a writer often ends up applying to his silent mentors, the influential writers who come before him. Gibson, to me, has spent the better part of three years as my literary da Vinci, a man so "up there" as to be god-like. While I never was so brainless as to worship him (and God help me if I ever get to that point), I always sorta saw him as meta-human, from a writer's perspective- the apex of what a writer could end up being.
Which is strange, really, now that I've read about him in his own words. I mean, he's not what one would call prolific. Indeed, he's got a number of magazine articles, a few dozen short stories and a sum total of 8 books under his belt (one of which was co-written with Bruce Sterling). When it comes to quantity, Gibson's still wet behind the ears in the professional market. Certainly, he's got QUALITY practically dripping from his pores, but prolific? Not Gibson.
For the longest time there was a sort of mythos which was associated with the man, what he refers to as the "mediated persona", an entity which was inadvertently contructed within the media who bears his name but is not, really, him at all. And, in fact, that mythos was more fiction than anything he ever wrote. The guy writes on a computer, he is patently NOT the recluse we have perceived him to be, he is not socially awkward (though he does seem to be a bit shy). And he's about as technocratically elite as most of us, which isn't very much. He's not a coder, he's not a hacker. He's not even remotely interested in becoming any of those things, either. He's an idea-man, a story-teller, a guy who grew up during the Cold War era and saw a world through some very introverted eyes as an orphaned young man.
I've spent the better part of this last evening reading his blogs, his occasional musings on this and that, his responses to topics brought up on his message board by site visitors.
William Gibson is now, to me, just another guy who writes really, really, really damn well. He's got kids, a wife, friends and a career. He smokes and drinks coffee and finds it a bit odd that people deify him so much.
Say goodbye to the hero worship. Say hello to discovering a personal sense of identity. No one has to walk in the shadow of any man, woman or child, least of all any of us. He remains my strongest influence as a writer, but the guy is just too different for me to worry about ever trying to reach his summit. He's not on a higher plane, he's just on a different one.
I wonder if anyone notices just how much of a sense of humor writers end up having to develop about themselves? The really funny thing is that I first read Neuromancer three years ago, to this very day.