Monday, January 20, 2020

Like Harry and Meghan, another Brit calls it quits

The literary world was shocked a couple days ago as only a mystery writer can shock them. No, Lee Child didn't tweet something the literoti found insensitive. He didn't shake Donald Trump's hand and cause them to get the vapors. Nor did he astound them like J.K. Rowling by sharing an opinion of which they disagreed.

He announced his retirement. Child is hanging up the typewriter at the age of 65 and turning Jack Reacher's fists over to Child's younger brother.

I'm a little apprehensive about that but willing to give the guy a shot.

What astounded me is: I didn't know writers could retire. That's like retiring from breathing or from loving dogs. Writers write until they die of a drug overdose or are beheaded for blasphemy, or so I thought.

Among my favorite writers, Lawrence Block is still writing away at age 81. He looks like death on skates, but he's still churning out the words. Thankfully. Cormac McCarthy is 86. Larry McMurtry 73. Stephen King and James Patterson are 72, as is Salman Rushdie, who's stilling plugging away despite a fatwa on his head. Ian McEwan is just a pup at 71. They haven't wimped out on us.

I suspect Child's quitting has something to do with being a Brit. They've been waving the white flag since the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Not as bad as the French, but they don't have any popular writers now to even announce their retirement.

He joins other famous English quitters like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Now I could give a rip about them. Heck, I don't know if either of them can write. But I know Child can and I hate to see such a talented writer retire to the tea room.

Some, as proposed in this New Yorker article "Do Writers Really Retire?" from 2013, say even Shakespeare retired.

I hope Child "retires" like Conor McGregor retired. Maybe, like him, he'll be back after his net worth slips below $100 million. We can hope.

Come on Child, be a man. Reacher wouldn't quit on you.

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