Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Random Shots: Beware Your Heroes

  • I had a nice long weekend and it's hard for me to go back to work. It wasn't games that kept me occupied (Torchlight, of all things, has started crashing my computer; the poor thing isn't holding up well.) Instead, my darling wife and I took in a musical Saturday (Hairspray, it was good fun) and went to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on Sunday.

  • One of the reasons I was looking forward to the LATFOB this year was because a favorite author of mine was going to be in attendance. I've really enjoyed this author's work, so I wanted to hear him talk a little bit and get a book signed. And I wanted to tell him how much I enjoy his work.

  • When my wife and I got to the signing line, we saw that this author has been paired with a second author from the same panel. Only, just about everyone in the signing line was there to see the same author I was. I So the other author was just sitting there, waiting in case someone, anyone, wanted to talk to him. My wife, the kind hearted person she is, ran over to the sales tent and bought one of his books so that he would have something to sign.

  • As I got to the front of the line, I saw that the pair were chatting. I handed over my books to be signed, but didn't say anything other than to tell him which names the inscription should be made out to. I wanted to say everything that I planned, but I didn't because I didn't want to interrupt.

  • While a small, selfish part of me was disappointed that I didn't get past "Hi," the rational part reminds me the he was doing the right thing. You don't just ignore that other author. Trying to divide your attention isn't easy, but it would not be nice to just let the other author sit there and twirl his Sharpie.

  • What I have realized is that my expectations were way out of whack. We build up these heroes in our minds until we're holding them to a standard they could never meet. They're just people. People that do something pretty cool, but people nonetheless. I suspect that society would be better off if we remember that we are all just people.

© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. I'm not sure I'd be able to get out much more than a "Hi," if I met one of my favorite authors, either. Nice thing about the internet and Twitter, is I can now send of a quick note of thanks after I read a book and feel just as good.

  2. Remembering they are people is a principle to remember in both directions; neither their lofty halos nor feet of clay are worth focusing on.

    Many's the time I've found out something unflattering about someone I thought highly of, and had to remind myself of the reasons I like them... and how those outweighed the inevitable warts.

  3. @ Blue Kae - My worst fanboy incident was meeting Joss Whedon just after the Firefly DVDs were released. I babbled like an idiot. The cool thing is that he was as nice and funny as he projects online.

    @ Tesh - An excellent point. The thing inside of each of us that makes us fans and just as easily turn to poison. Moderation in all things, I believe the quote goes.