she’s a girl with glasses

come on kids try this at home
January 28, 2010, 10:23 pm
Filed under: blog | Tags: , ,

I realized part of my reluctance over the course of my writing “career” (and, let’s face it, that has to remain in quotation marks for the time being, as I have never sold any of my writing, unless you count writing for the man, in tiny 20 second bites that made me feel emptier with each completed sentence), to allow myself to progress, has been, in part, because it feels like writers aren’t very noticeable. I understand this is an utterly and completely selfish concept and ambition, and I won’t deny it: I am a show-off. I always have been. I was a clown as a child, was the one willing to make a fool of herself because it meant attention and, yes, I was the tired cliché of “bad attention is better than no attention.” Though I was and am cripplingly shy, I have always thrived on attention, particularly under the guise of somebody, anybody, else. I did theatre in high school and college (including a brief stint as an acting major), and have an embarrassing history of flamboyant drunken behavior at parties.

I crave attention.

The flip side of this is, of course, my real talent lays in something that leaves me behind the scenes, faceless and, mostly, nameless. Writers, unless they are mega-best-sellers, unless they are Hollywood institutions or smash breakthroughs, are virtually unknown. Truly: when was the last time you spotted a writer on the street and asked them for their autograph? Fiction renders writers even more anonymous: with non-fiction, there is a face to the words, a person who has given this information or story to you. Fiction, even in first person, is something, someone other than the writer. The writer is the delivery person, and you can easily forget his or her name even if you enjoyed the book.

Most people are guilty of this. I’m guilty of this. Outside a handful of my very favorite writers, my ability to recall others names is minimal. Perhaps that is a credit to them, that their characters and creations are more forefront to me than the person who produced them, but I think that’s unfair. You don’t say the same of actors. You can forget, for two hours, about who that person is portraying the character, but, at the end of the movie, you know it was Julia Roberts or Tim Robbins or whoever. You are called upon to remember they brought that character to life.

The other day, I mused that, what I was really looking for in life, is a time and a place where writers are rock stars. This was spurred by my own (somewhat obsessive and ridiculous) love of several musicians, and realizing that, in a way, that’s what I want. I don’t think I’m far out in that idea, or even in saying that I can’t possibly be the only writer who feels the same. The issue, again, is my talent does not lie in music. I love music, love every genre of music, love every instrument, but, outside playing flute as a kid, my musical talent is close to nil. While I am willing (and planning) music lessons, I know my skill is not anything above marginal. I will never be a rock star.

And so I have a new ambition: to make writers the new rock stars. We’re in an age where information can be shared in so many ways, it seems a crime that we aren’t using those words, so many words, produced by so many incredible writers, into the new media and flogging the shit out of it the way the movie and music industry has. Twitter is one place where I’ve found many of my favorite writers giving a voice to this new medium, one that is exciting and could and should bring more of this fantastic writing, these books that should be read, to the masses. Why not act like the actors and musicians and models and reality stars who garner followers and fans through the internet and social media? Why not be on that same level?

I won’t presume to speak for all writers. Let’s face it: I’m not even on the map outside my own head. I’m not even asking for an undeserved fame (though, hey, fame with no work sounds like a fun job). Writers are producing, writers are making a difference in the world, in peoples’ brains, just as an actor or rock star. Why don’t we get that same level of attention?

So let’s be rock stars. There’s my one silly, inconsequential resolution, nearly a month into the year. I’m going to be a rock star.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

you already are a rock star to me.

Comment by Sport

You go for it, girl! (and when you figure out how, can you share the secret with me? I also think tapestry weavers should be rockstars. HA! Now that’s a good one!)

Comment by Kathy Spoering

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