They say never meet your heroes. You’ll only be disappointed. Honestly, I’ve met several of my heroes, my inspirations. Each has been beyond amazing. They are gracious and responsive to my questions. The only time I have ever seen a celebrity (actor, athlete or otherwise) be less than polite was when we ran into Tom Glavine at Hartsfield airport one evening. He was quite contrary when my friend approached him. (even after I told them not to) Turns out, his wife was in labor. That wasn’t a good enough reason for my friend.
Oh yeah, we’re not friends anymore. Who has time for rudeness like that?
But this past weekend, while at DragonCon, I met some of the best people. I had the pleasure of speaking with Gil Gerard, who was pleased to hear how Buck Rogers was a bonding experience with me and my father. (who doesn’t love a father-daughter bonding story over science fiction?) I met Victor Garber, who was delighted to hear that I grew up on Godspell and was convinced as a child that he was indeed Jesus. I got a hug after that comment. But hey, who can hate on a little kid who listens to Godspell religiously? (pun intended)
Then there was Peter Capaldi. I’m not sure what happened there. I went to get his autograph and ended up discussing the migratory patterns of the Germanic tribes in the Middle Ages. And he was down for the convo! That he did enlightenment to the fact that the football team is pronounced cell-tick, not kell-tick. But I believe, for the culture and people, it’s kell-tick, and the teams, cell-tick. I could be wrong.
One of the highlights was being able to sit down with Carole Barrowman and tell her how much our very brief chat last year at DragonCon had meant to me. It helped me to publish my book! And again, she was gracious, very excited for the start of my literary career. I attended one of her writing session and learned so much. In fact, I am embarrassed at how many rules she discussed that I might have broken in my novel. What’s worse: I handed her a copy of my book as a thank you for helping to motivate me to publish it afterward, knowing I just broke many of the rules.
Seriously, Carole. Please don’t read it. Use it as a doorstop. I’m not sure I showed. I think I told. I used adverbs! There’s a mirror scene. I know that’s a no-no. But it’s not to describe the character, I promise! Did I mention the adverbs?
The highlight was meeting to of the greatest inspirations for my book, and neither of them disappointed me. I might have disappointed them. There were tears. I’m not going to lie. It was the first time in my life I was speechless. To be speechless with joy is such a scary but satisfying feeling. In one case, my inspiration, who I’ve had the extreme pleasure of teasing on Twitter about invading my stories, was so giving and excited for me and my book. A promise was made for more with this book. A promise will be kept. Mark my word. With this one, it was like I was talking to family. They are ohana to me. Because so, they are one of the biggest inspirations in my life. This is why they have a tendency to invade my stories: their energy is so contagious, infectious, and redeeming, that the character they become in the novel essentially becomes the lawful good. Gotta balance out that chaotic evil. Or at least to challenge the chaotic evil.
The other inspiration. This is where I embarrassed myself. But it was tears of joy. My biggest goal with this book, The Mess We’re In, was to put a copy in the hands of the people I used as models and those who inspired the story. I was able to do so for the most important character in my book. But when I did pass along the book, the immediate flood of emotion which hit was unspeakable. Three years of writing and editing, too many rejections to even discuss anymore, and the fear that my characters may never see the light of day all merge into one rogue wave of tears. I had the goal of putting a book in their hands. HAD. I manage to fulfill it, and in doing so, released myself from the stress I had spent the last three years in. I cried. I froze, unable to make a sound. It was both a beautiful moment realized and an embarrassing one. But I made my goal happen.
And they were more than happy to receive the book and excited that they were the model for a character. Still though, I wish I could have articulated my joy a bit better. That’s my only disappointment.
My point is, meet your heroes. Do keep in mind that they are human and they are going to have off days just like everybody else. But for the most part, your heroes want to know they are effecting positive change and doing good in the world. Everyone wants to hear that they are making a difference, someway somehow.
But be polite and respectful when you do. Actually just be polite and respectful in all aspects, but definitely when dealing with your heroes. They are your heroes for a reason. Keep them that way.
Until next time…