I remember reading Three Cups of Tea and enjoying it – good book, and nice to know that good things occasionally happen.
Except to people involved in this story.
There came the allegations of fiction, that Mortenson, the adventurer whom the story centers on, had a “fluid sense of time” that “made pinning down the exact sequence of many events in this book almost impossible”. And class-action suits against him and his Central Asia Institute, with claims that he perhaps profited from his charity and that investors were swindled.
And now the co-author (who parted with the hero in a less-than-friendly manner) just killed himself. It seems that David Oliver Relin felt that his career suffered from his association with the Tempest in Three Cups disaster.
This whole thing saddens me. Like I said about, I’d read Three Cups on a recommendation and liked it – happy ending and all that. Now there are doubts raised whether this was any different from any other Hallmark happytale, that maybe a lot of it never happened at all.
But really, look at Relin – he wanted to break out with Three Cups – his first novel and all that. Then came the recriminations and counter-recriminations and suddenly his reputation was tarnished and what could he do but check out?
Part of this goes back to that sleepless-night syndrome, I suppose – the same sort of thing I went through when I thought I was going to get hammered for a copyright violation. Your troubles can look so big when you stand at the base of them and look up.
But really, what’s the point of killing yourself because your writing career is in the crapper? News flash – almost every writer’s career is in the crapper. We start in the crapper, and have to write and suffer and push and beg to maybe (if we’re really lucky) get a book into print. And even after that first book goes out, there is no promise that you won’t be a one-hit wonder, that some off-base review won’t hit you between the eyes and strike you dead, or that your co-author won’t drag your name down in legal squabblings. Outside of mega-writers who can jot down directions to the corner store and have them show up on the NYT’s best sellers list, most of us have careers that start in the crapper and remain there for our entire lives. It’s where 99.44% of the world’s writers are.
But to kill yourself over your lack of success is, to put it gently, silly. You would rather die than dig a ditch?
Seems like a waste of one’s only shot at earth, normally a short 40-80 years, now made even shorter by his own hand.
Because of Three Cups?
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