When I’m Famous
Yes, this is a seriously good time to write about what I’m going to do when I’m famous. A) I’m not, and B) since I haven’t had any experience being famous, I can speak with the authority of the entirely ignorant.
It’s also a great time to get started because no one is going to mistake me for, well, anyone.
Fame is a tricky beast, and always has been. People hated Cleopatra millennia before Hillary, and that was way before Fox News. The contemporary accounts of King Henry VIII are full of praise for his height and good looks.
I have always been perplexed by hero worship, or even hero envy, but then I’m lucky to have always known my path in life, and to have concerns other than the public side of what I do.
The work, in other words, is the point, not who loves me or knows who I am.
I want you to feel like you could be my peer, not my peon. It would be extremely flattering to know you admire me and connect with my work, but I want you to ask yourself why.
Art is a conversation we have often at extreme arms’ length, with art as the medium of that conversation. Marshall McLuhan’s concept of the medium as the message has warped even further: now the media is two-way voice and video chat. Media is so ubiquitous that we treat the plural of the noun as if it’s the smallest unit we’d deign to consume.
My rule about stories is that I only want to read about someone who’s more interesting than I am. That way, I’m always learning, always growing, and I strive to set that bar pretty high in my own life. That’s what you deserve too, what I hope our conversation spurs you on to.
I quip that I only want to meet famous people when they want to meet me, but that’s really the truth. When you read my work, we’re having the best conversation I can offer you: crafted, honed, and cleverly printed and bound in book manuscript form, to paraphrase Blackadder.
If something I write sparks you, let that spark move you to something more profound than fandom. Let it move you to respond by starting a conversation with someone else, with growing and learning to do and be what you admire instead of letting me speak for you. I’m sure you have tons to say and talking to yourself is, I’m sure, as lonely for you as it is for me.
I wish you joy of identity, of striving for excellence, of honing your own conversational skills to bridge the gap between yourself and others. I wish you more than the surface of fame, the parties and the money. I wish you something real, something lasting, and something infinitely more valuable: communication.
As a side note: there was no “Jen Frankel Reads Random S#it!” podcast this month. Apologies! But if you’ve read this month’s newsletter, you have more than a good idea why. If not, sign up!! –> 😉