How do you feel about the celebrity you have gained as a result of your book and websites?
Ah, micro-celebrity. First, I must say something: if you know who I am, it’s not because of my book. It’s because of the internet. I know from my reader surveys that like 12 of you found me via my book. The rest of you find me on the internet.
But yeah, micro-celebrity. Since I started blogging in 2000 and hang out in super geeky circles, I’ve had a long time to get used to the “Uh, you don’t know me, but I read your blog…” phenomenon, so that kind of niche notoriety feels pretty ok. Of course it’s always nice to have people who are familiar with your work, but it’s just not that big of a deal and there’s no need to get all “OH HELLOOOOO MY LITTLE DARLINGS! TAKE MAH PICTURE! I AM A ROCK STAR! LA LA LA.” I’m not. I’m a blogger. A few thousand people are familiar with my corner of the web. I am not a celebrity, nor am I even that well-known of a writer, relatively speaking.
At the Lovesick Expos, I’ve been truly honored to meet with readers who’ve sometimes traveled across state lines to say hello. It’s an honor! It’s exciting! I love it! My goal when meeting a reader is always to make them feel awesome about getting up the gumption to say hello — I know it takes nerves, and feels awkward. My goal is to hug the awkward out of you when we meet.
So while I’m comfortable with niche notoriety (because I recognize it for what it is: a niche. A very small one.) I DO get uncomfortable when it turns into any sort of idolatry. I totally get having online writers who you admire and adore (I have a ton of them!), but I think it can get weird when you start projecting your admiration on to people and thinking somehow they’re better than you.
For the most part, people you admire are just as confused and fucked up as you are. They may have figured out certain areas of their lives (hence the cause of your admiration), but chances are good that other aspects of their lives are in shambles, and you could probably teach them a thing or two.
I guess I’m saying we all need more mentors, and less idols. I don’t need the web to create more self-absorbed celebrities. I want it to create a gallery of accessible, intelligent mentors.