Friday, August 3, 2012

Are all Celebrities Jerks?

The more I read about celebrities, the more I realize not only that I will never be one, but also that I am good and happy with it. Why, you might ask? Let me explain...

As much as I would love to dazzle the world with my writing, and squeeze Morgan Freeman's hand as he prepares to accept an Oscar for a movie based on one of my stories (hey, one can still dream, right?), one of the things I enjoy most in life is to connect with people, especially readers.

Last year, a lovely young lady sent me a friend request on Facebook after reading one of my novels, The Book of Obeah, and when I accepted it and wrote on her wall to thank her, she wrote me back to let me know how surprised she was to get my note. Earlier tonight, another lady responded to an event invitation and expressed how cool it is to be able to talk to the writers in my group; not too long ago, she explained, she had a bad experience with an indie author who acted as though she was above everyone else. To me, such behavior is truly mind-boggling. Why would anyone NOT want to talk to the very same people who made them who they are??

Certainly, I understand why really big celebs can't talk to individual fans -- if they chose to respond to every person who tries to get in touch with them, they wouldn't have time to do anything else. But what about the smaller guys? Why should they be so distant? Years ago, I worked in a hotel downtown which housed many celebrities when they were in town. The thing that I found most comical was that the legends were friendly (David Crosby was a peach, and so was John Denver, may he rest in peace), while the small bands that were part of Lollapalooza were, for the most part, jerks. Napoleon Complex, anybody?

There almost seems to be a veil of mysticism surrounding artists in general, and many come to accept it as part of the job. Handsome actors, beautiful actresses, talented musicians, dancers and writers, weren't always demi-gods...there was a time when even the "untouchables" depended on the kindness of others to open the door. One thing is certain: Without people buying tickets, actors and directors would be scrubbing dishes in Hollywood, without good folks who enjoy music, singers wouldn't be able to charge a fortune for a concert ticket, and without readers, writers are NOTHING.

If being a celebrity means being superior and alienated, then I know that it is not what I want to be when I grow up, and if my books do well, I owe it all to the good people who decided to give my work a chance. The fact that you, the reader, support my dream and allow me to be who I am means the world to me, and puts YOU on a huge pedestal in my eyes. Never forget that.