It's like I've lived in a vacuum or something. One day, I wake up and realize that something has been going on around me and I wasn't even aware of it. How did I miss this George R.R. Martin thing?

I've seen the name, sure, but I barely ever gave it a thought. I couldn't pull a title or cover from my mind even if a million bucks were on the line. According to this article in the NYT, the first novel in this series came out in 1996. As I've said before, I used to love fantasy, and then I got soured on it. Robert Jordan did more to piss me off than anyone. Finish the freaking series already, dude!

I stopped reading somewhere in the vicinity of the 8th Wheel of Time book when I realized that no one was going anywhere or doing much of anything for 600 (roughly, since I've blocked the memory) pages. IF the man ever finishes, I may read the rest of the books. But I was not waiting at the bookstore for the 11th on the day it hit, nor do I plan to buy it. In fact, when I finally succumbed to the madness and bought Book 10, thinking I'd just get them all so I could read when he finally finished–a moment of sheer lunacy on my part, I admit–the one I bought was a first edition. No, I did not seek this thing out; it was still on the shelf in the bookstore some two years after it had come out.

But I digress.

Meanwhile, crowds have been lining up for hours on Mr. Martin's publication tour to hear him read. “It's unlike anything I've ever seen, except for hosting events for rock stars,” said Carolyn T. Hughes, an events coordinator for Barnes & Noble at Astor Place in Manhattan, where Mr. Martin read in November. “There were 500 people.”

Crowds are lining up, people are salivating over the next book, and I missed it all. Didn't Jordan used to command that kind of attention? Just goes to show you, you piss off the readers, you stand in danger of losing your exhalted place. No writer is above his audience. On the other hand, the success of Mr. Martin proves that huge whopping fantasy tomes are still very much in demand, in spite of my personal disappointments. And that's a good thing. Readers still want a good story and writers still strive to create them. Just when you think a genre is saturated or done to death, someone comes along with a new idea that changes everything.

That's pretty much what keeps writers writing. The thought that maybe it's my idea that will spark that renewal, that enthusiasm among readers. Isn't true for most of us, but you never know who will be the one. Keep writing and dreaming. It might be you.