It’s always struck me as a bit too sycophantic – while I like to admire people, there’s a sense of putting them up a bit too high on a pedestal. Maybe even something a bit desperate or fetishistic.
Of course, like all of of my hard and fast rules, I’m happy to make exceptions.
I do have two autographed items that I maintain with love (if maybe not as much care as they deserve).
One is my autographed Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. Given that Douglas Adams is one of my major inspirations, it feels kind of cool to have just that little piece of him, especially as he’s sadly no longer with us. The book is rather ragged and falling apart these days, but I’ll never get rid of it.
The other is my autographed Mad Magazine. Mad was a massive inspiration to me as a kid – it really gave me a sense of the big world and how there was so much that could be made fun of, as well as the idea of satire as a powerful mechanism for humour. I loved how it covered a really broad range of styles, from sharp political satire to just completely random and oddball (like the wonderful cartoons of Don Martin).
It was kind of a special thing when I was being taken around New York by a cousin and happened to pass right outside their offices. Of course, I dragged the somewhat nonplussed cousin inside, where I got to meet the editor, William Gaines. He was very cheerful and friendly, happily giving me a free copy of an edition that had been damaged in the post and signing it on the spot.
As a writer myself, I haven’t done a lot of autographing. I guess I’m not quite in the Douglas Adams league. And besides, most of my books are ebooks, and while I know there are electronic ways to do autographs, it doesn’t quite feel the same. But I do have a few children’s books in print, and I have done a bit of autographing for them – one was for the child of a friend who was most upset to see their book had been scribbled on.
And that’s the big problem I’m likely to face if I should ever get famous enough for people to want my autograph. I don’t have a decent signature. My handwriting is completely disgusting. If I ever get that popular, I suspect I’d need a handwriting double.
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