This whole thing is an expansion on the comment I threw down today over on Jim C Hines’ blog entry called “Fame and Fanboy Fails..” He gave me some good thoughts and after I sent the comment, I had another thought and was all like “Hell I can get a blog out of it.” Make sure to look at the pictures he put in his superior blog entry. They’re funny.
Although in my head I never use the word ‘blog.’ It tastes bad on my tongue and I loathe using it. Thanks to twitter’s character limit, I’ll actually write it down now, but I try my damnedest to never say it aloud.
I always feel very weird when around famous people. I’m not the most extroverted person around new people and there’s always the question of “What the hell do I say?” How many times can I people hear “I love your [insert creative work here] and you’re just super swell!” Well… I guess you’d have to go backwards in time to hear someone say super swell. I once went to a Kevin Smith Q and A (which I highly recommend) and I felt I was in between a rock and a hard place. I knew enough to avoid asking newb questions, but I wasn’t such a ridonkulous fanboy to actually come up with an in depth question. I got a copy of A Visit from the Good Squad signed by Jennifer Egan. She was at the Ocean State Summer Writing Conference I rolled at last year. Standing there saying “Hi I enjoyed the whole point of view thing you did with your book. Can you make it out to Mike?” left me feeling like I had something odd growing out of my forehead and since I was probably the fiftieth person in like, seemed like an awkward situation all around. What was she supposed to say “Ayup, that’s why I won a Pulitzer.”
All the best stories of interactions with famous people happened to my dad who could walk into a room in a foreign country not speaking the language and find someone to talk random stuff with. Around 1980 he was hitchhiking and got picked up by Ozzie Osborne, who happened to be on the way to New Haven from Worcester. My dad rode for 20 minutes before the other guy in the car couldn’t contain it anymore. Back in the general vicinity of 2000 he sat next to Aaron Lewis from Staind. This was right around when they started being mega hits. On a Texas to wherever the hell my dad’s connecting flight was flight did they talk about performing or touring or classic albums or anything related to him being a star? Nope. Fishing. My dad hung out with with a rock star and talked about fishing. My dad knew who he was and was all like “Sure I’ll check out the album” but they just talked fish. For some reason I always felt this guy must have found it refreshing to have a normal person conversation.
The big thing Hines talks about with is blog is the disconnect between the famous person and the person. Seriously, go read it if you haven’t. But come back and read the rest of this. Getting into what I said in my comment, twitter has bridged that gap a lot. I’m gonna go copy and paste it so I don’t have to tab back and forth a lot.
In all honesty, this is part of the beauty of twitter. I dismissed it for a long time as hipster techno crap. My wife convinced me it would be fun to follow because Wil Wheaton is hilarious as a person. Mostly I follow authors and New York Giants players. Its refreshing to see these people as people. As someone who is working on being a writer while holding down a horrible day job, it is strangely motivating to see published authors deal with a sick kid. Not that I want their kids to be sick. It’s more of a “He’s a regular guy who is a dad ontop of everything else.” Logically I know authors don’t pull things out of their butts, but logic doesn’t always play nice when I’m staring at a blank page or am too busy to get the word I have written.
That said, when I was at Boskone I still couldn’t bring myself to go up to any of the authors I knew. Scalzi was busy each time I saw him and some woman looked like she was hitting on Myke Cole after the pannel. I didn’t want to be “That Creepy Awkward Guy” with nothing real to say nor did I want to be disrespectful while they were clearly doing something else.
So yeah. Being around writing helps me with my own writing and it sounds kinda dumb but twitter helps even with the writers never mention putting pen on page. It brings this craft down to earth a little bit. People can say how tough it is to get things finished all they want but its different when you can read how an author finished something for the first time in weeks just like me.
So next time you read a book you like, search for them on ye old twitter. They’re probably there, being regular. But they all seem to like a friendly hi now and again anyways.