Famous Moments (August 2012)
Many writers dream of fame. It looks so glamorous, doesn't it? Your pen name larger and more important than the book title. New York Times Best Seller printed on the paperback cover. Six figure advances on books you haven't written yet from publishers your mom has heard of.
One of my first book signings, years ago, was at a family reunion (I have an extra-large extended family). Two of my cousins, Paula Price and Kim Johnson, were also on a soon-to-be-famous path. I remember them being more seasoned in the celebrity realm, so they gave me tips on what to write when I sign books. The three of us made a pact that whichever of us became famous first—which we vaguely defined as being on Oprah—that person would take the others out for dinner.
Well, Oprah is no longer the mile post. Our kids recently recorded themselves dancing to a favorite song, with a plan to post the video on YouTube. Why? To become famous. I forgot to ask them how many views you need before it's time to get a bodyguard.
I suppose part of the lure of fame is the connection we feel as fans.
As a former volleyball player, with friends who still play pro and semi-pro, I have admirable appreciation for Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor. As the duo won their third Olympic Gold in women’s beach volleyball, I cheered with the rest of their fans for their famous moment in the sand.
One of my favorite books to read with my son was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. J.K. Rowling has a fantastic imagination and it’s really impressive how she threaded so many little details into a seven-book series. Her personal rags-to-riches story is in part thanks to indie booksellers who believe in magic. But aside from her now household name, I think it’s especially cool that a word she completely made up became so commonly used it was added to the dictionary. Yes, the word muggle (a person with no magical powers) was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
So what about my famous moments? Well, earlier this summer, a young girl followed me around in JC Penney. Finally, her mom came up to me in the shoe section and said hello. She explained that Zoey was being shy but she wanted me to know she liked my book. She had checked it out and read it five times.
Today I brought my 13-year-old to his volunteer job. A man in the office said hello to Alexander, then looked at me and said, “You must be the famous author. Your son speaks very highly of you. You should be proud.”
I might not have an Olympic gold medal or a word I made up in the dictionary, but I’ll take that kind of famous moment any day. Paula and Kim, dinner's at 6.
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