Monday, March 14, 2011

Know Who "Max Brand" Was...?

You know, often we find that we have to do things we really don't enjoy in order to make a living. Such was the case with Max Brand.

Even though this guy is long gone, his story is not all that different from many of us today. I guess that's the reason I find this particular person so interesting!

Not only did he make a lot of money, but became very good at what he did. Just imagine what he could have done if he had enjoyed his work!

Mar 14, 1919:

Max Brand publishes his first novel

Max Brand, perhaps the most prolific writer of western stories, publishes his first novel, The Untamed.

Max Brand was one of 21 pen names used by the Seattle-born author Frederick Faust. When he was still a young boy, Faust's family moved to the San Joaquin Valley of California, where he grew up in poverty and enjoyed few educational advantages. Early on, though, Faust developed a passionate love for reading. He was especially fond of traditional poetic writers like Milton and Shakespeare, and he initially tried his hand at writing serious poetry.

Faust's poetry was forgettable at best, and it held little potential for providing him with a living. Reluctantly, Faust began to write short adventure stories. Editors who had previously rejected his serious work eagerly snapped up his popular fiction and encouraged him to write more. Motivated primarily by the considerable money he could make writing for popular magazines, in 1917 Faust began to churn out a prodigious number of short stories, from spy thrillers to medical dramas to Westerns. Embarrassed by his "lowbrow" stories, he never appended his real name to any of his popular works.

Faust claimed to dislike the American West, and he spent most of his adult life in Europe. Nonetheless, he wrote more stories and novels in the Western genre than in any other, many of them dispatched from his luxurious Italian villa. He published his first Western, a fast-paced adventure called The Untamed, in serial form in 1918. The serial was so popular that the Putnam Publishing Company brought out a hardcover edition of the story on this day in 1919.

Unlike many western authors, Faust made no pretense to historical accuracy in his works. His novels concerned a mythic West of his imagination, and he rarely provided any identifiable geographical details or demonstrated any mastery of the minutiae of western life. His strength was his ability to tell a compelling story, and he had a keen sense of style.

In The Untamed, Faust created the hugely popular Dan Barry, a peaceable man who avoided trouble whenever possible. However, when Barry or those he cares about were attacked, he was transformed and was capable of wreaking violent vengeance on wrongdoers. Faust continued Barry's story in two bestselling sequels.

Besides gaining fame and fortune as the author of Max Brand westerns, Faust also created the character of Dr. Kildare for his medical thrillers. Faust died in 1944, having written an estimated 30 million words, including more than 500 western serials or short stories.

The sad thing about all of this is the fact that what he did, although he was very good at it, didn't make him happy! To me, that's sad! That, my friends, isn't living...that's existing!

I'd rather scrape by doing something I love, than make a ton of money doing something that I hate!

Bottom line here is that Mr. Brand was a sellout! Sure, he had fame and fortune, but he sold his soul to get there! That is NOT what I call success!

Let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside before the rain starts! All the new gardens need this rain, I think!


Rae said...

That is sad. He made a good living at what he did - just seems wrong that he hated it so much. I've not read any of his western books, but I certainly remember Dr. Kildare. Hope you are doing well. Wishing you a good week ahead.

Sixbears said...

That's just sad. I'm with you. Rather scrape by and have an enjoyable life. Works for me so far!

JoJo said...

Pretty sad story. But thanks for passing it on.
So the garden is in, good luck I hope all grows well.
Did get to sit on the porch yesterday and it was so beautiful out there. And today I am sitting here in front to my computer. Progress. :)
Pass the pot please said...

In many ways I think I have had a crackerjack life. It is not where I would choose to have it now but, I suppose, I have been happier than many others. I sound like a broken record, I'll admit, but I wish you had chosen a career as a writer because you seem to have such a natural, God given talent!
Love you.

tffnguy said...

HJ, I did work that I hated most of my life and still didn't get rich and famous. I did turn down jobs that would have paid a lot better because I'd have had to move to places I hated even worse or figured I would hate the jobs even more. At least he got comfortable from his work and probably had it made late in life which is a lot more than can be said for most of us.

With that said and now that I would be a lot better off IF I had taken some of those jobs I'm paying for it now. Of course if I had I'd have probably become a slave to the big bucks and would think I was poor now even drawing much more retirement.

Bob from Athens said...

After the first few million $'s, if he hated writing so much why didn't he just quit and take up something he liked. I would guess that his love of money was far bigger than his hate of writing western's.

HermitJim said...

Hey Rae...
Obviously the man had talent, but how could he go through life not liking what he did?

Guess each person has to choose what matters to us!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Sixbears...
I figure that I'm better off being poor, ya know? I mean, what the hell would I do with a pot full of money?

I spent the last few working years of my life in semi-menial jobs just because I liked the work and made enough to live on!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey JoJo...
Any progress is better than none! I'm so glad that you are able to get outside, even if it's just for a few moments!

You know I'm thinking about you all the time and thinking positive thoughts about your recovery!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by today!

Hey Sis...
I think that our family was more fortunate than so many others, in the fact that most of our later years were doing things we were happy with!

I think of how happy Dad was while he drove his truck, something he always wanted to do!

You have a great day, and thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Tffnguy...
That's the trap so many of us fall into, I think! I know that I did at one time!

Well, even though I'm poor I am sorta happy NOT working for the man any more!

Guess we all get a chance to find some peace at some point!

I appreciate you coming over today!

HermitJim said...

Hey Bob...
That's kinda what I was thinking! Sounds to me that money became his driving force! That's really sad, and that's why I said he sold out!

At least he's happier now, I hope! Thanks so much for the visit today!

Dizzy-Dick said...

I did what I liked, but the secret to any job is what my Dad always told me. He said no matter what the job is, sweeping floors or president, do the best dang job you can do. Worked for me, at least in self satisfaction.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
Sounds like your Dad and mine thought the same way! I think that was the mind set of most folks in their generation!

I'm just glad I don't work any least for the "Man"!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

russell1200 said...

You missed the best detaila!

Adolf Hitler was a huge fan his.

Brand was not a fan of Hitler though. When WW2 broke out Faust insisted on being a war correspondence so that he could do his part. He died in action.

So the action writer dies in the heat of the action!: fighting the monster who loved his work!

Truth is stranger than fiction.

HermitJim said...

Hey Russell...
I didn't know that part of the story! Thanks for sharing it!

Like I've said many times, there is so much we can learn about, if we study history...and I mean REAL history and not what they teach in school now days!

Thanks so much for coming over today!

Marjie said...

It's an astonishing story!

John L said...

Whether he liked it or not he was a great writer. The Whistlin Dan Barry stories have been my favorite since I was young. He's one of the most unique interesting characters I've ever read about in Western Fiction. As a single character even better than L'Amour's "Sacketts".