Even if you are a music listener that belongs to a younger generation you certainly know that song “My Sharona”, that peppy song with some great crunchy gears and breaks they sometimes use to define the term powerpop. Great song that will surely go down in the annals of rock music. Along with it, everybody surely remembers the band that composed and played it, The Knack.
Still, ask anybody, even a devoted follower of powerpop to name you anything else the band did, they would certainly have a hard time. That is why The Knack is usually quite often named as one of the best examples of ‘One Hit Wonders’.
The same one hit wonder analogy can easily be transposed to writers and their works. While it was not really based on real life facts, they say that the movie “Finding Forrester” is based on J.D. Salinger and the fact that after the success of “Catcher In The Rye” he became very reclusive and he barely wrote much afterward.
But then, they could have modified the storyline a bit and used somebody like Joseph Heller, who actually wrote more than Salinger, but everybody remembers for his true masterpiece “Catch 22”. Or even more so, Umberto Eco, a brilliant, educated, and astute writer of non-fiction, who also wrote a masterpiece novel in “The Name of The Rose”, with all his other fictional work never even getting close to it, or his non-fictional work ever getting the attention beyond the circle of dedicated fans and experts.
Unfortunately, none of these writers are among us anymore, but we still remember them, cite them, analyze their ‘one hit wonders’ in minute detail. And there lies a point.
Everybody who seriously works on being a writer always has somewhere in the back of his mind that he will leave behind a body of work that will be remembered exactly as such — body of work. But does it have to be so? What is wrong with being a writing ‘one hit wonder’?
Nothing. As writers, there’s always a possibility we will say the main thing we have to say simply in one go, or it can be in pieces, we can be inspired over and over, and sometimes we simply won’t.
But that light of inspiration is there somewhere all the time, just waiting to be put into words. And if you, for example, go through Umberto Eco’s non-fiction a bit more thoroughly, you’re certainly bound to realize that he did not have to write another “The Name of The Rose”. His non-fiction is that good.
The point is not the shape or form or how voluminous your writing is, but how much it counts, even if it’s just for a small circle of people around you. In those circumstances, that circle is bound to spread.
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