Last week Jon Stewart announced that he was leaving The Daily Show. I heard it first on Facebook, confirmed it through news reports, and followed that up by donning sack cloth and ashes.
I've been watching The Daily Show for years. YEARS! Now that I have a DVR, I record them and watch a week's worth of shows - all four - in one sitting on the weekend. It's a love fest! Yesterday I caught up with this past week, including the episode where he made the public announcement of his departure (see video above).
Stewart made his reasons for leaving quite clear: spending more time with his family, topping the list. He also made a statement that really resonated with me as a writer. "This show doesn't deserve an even slightly restless host."
This comment immediately made me think of those of us with long-running book series, whether it be mystery or otherwise. After a while, our creative minds get restless. No matter how much we love what we do. No matter how good we are at doing it. The creative side of people needs room to grow and expand or it stagnates,like a plant growing in too small of a pot. We've all read book series that should have ended several books earlier. We've all watched TV shows that jumped the shark seasons ago. We've all seen movie franchises that should have stopped while they were ahead.
I'm not saying Jon Stewart has lost his edge - far from it. But I respect and applaud that he's recognizing that he needs new stimulation to nurture his creativity.
I have two books left under contract in the Odelia Grey series - making it an even dozen books. So, do I continue with Odelia and move forward on book 13? I'm leaning that way, but it won't be without major changes to the franchise to keep it fresh for both readers and myself.
I'm currently writing the 6th Ghost of Granny Apples mystery and after that have no more under contract. That doesn't mean there won't be more, just that my publisher has not made that decision. And if they do want more, do I want to write them or give the series and me a rest? And if they do not want more, do I go indie with the series, as I probably will do with Odelia after book 12? I have a couple more plot ideas for Granny books, so that is not an issue. The issue is, do I want to do more? I've always said that the last thing I want as a series writer is to hear that readers are bored with my work.
As Kenny Rodgers sings in The Gambler:
You've got to know when to hold 'em;
know when to fold 'em;
know when to walk away;
and know when to run.
As anyone who follows me anywhere on the web knows, I'm about to launch a new erotic romance series - The Winnie Wilde series - under the pen name of Meg Chambers. This new series is me stretching the legs of my creativity. It won't take the place of my mystery books, but it will allow me to grow in other directions and help my talent to blossom even more. I also have other projects waiting in the wings, so I know I'll be writing for years to come on something. Think of it as me re-potting my writing career so that my roots won't be cramped and wither.
I hope whatever happens in my career over the next few years, my readers will understand any changes that I make or paths that I take, just as I understand Stewart's. After all, don't my readers deserve better than an even slightly restless author?
Finally, why I'll miss Jon Stewart:
He's eye candy. What can I say? I have a thing for sexy, middle-aged Jewish men, and I think Stewart has gotten yummier over the years.
He's not afraid to speak out for what he believes.
I wish Stewart well in whatever endeavors lie ahead for him and I sincerely hope we see him on TV often. I'd love to see him do a weekly news discussion show like Bill Maher's. Or something along the lines of Meet The Press, etc. At least that's on my wish list!
In the meantime, I'll be watching The Daily Show until Stewart walks off the set for the last time.