Achieving post mortem fame as an artist was easier in the good old days. After you keeled over, some well meaning relative was always on hand to help with that last stab at immortality, gathering up diaries, personal correspondence and unfinished drafts and selling it to the highest bidder. Private writing has always done wonders for book sales. Who doesn’t want to glimpse the real person behind the tortured artist? Who doesn’t want to read about the unrequited romance that inspired the great works?
I imagine that nowadays it is a little harder for writers to titillate readers from the grave, since most of our personal thoughts and desires are already published somewhere online. Most writers have a wiki, a blog, a twitter feed, a facebook account, a writing blog, a blogging blog, fan sites, and listings on at least 4 social networks. If you are unfortunate enough to kick the bucket, you won’t need friends to unearth your secrets, you’ve already left behind a bread-crumb trail of your life. As if that wasn’t enough, you will be leaving behind plenty of email so that your loved ones won’t have to sift through the ashes in your fireplace or discover hiding places in panels of your walls. If there is a downside to post mortem fame it is that 21 century audiences have been jaded by years of reality TV, souped-up memoirs and confessional talk shows. What can you really offer that people haven’t heard or seen before?