Monday, March 6, 2017

Are You a Fan-Girl or Man-Fan?

Anne here. It was Harry Potter weekend on dish network this past weekend and our family watched a documentary by Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) about digging into the phenomenon of super fans--those fans who follow famous people and show up at every public event wanting a signature. What can they possibly glean from fan-following their famous hero?

I had to think if I've ever fan-girled anyone and why? There was the time I went to a fundraiser dinner and Henry Winkler was the guest speaker. Afterwards everyone lined up and got an introduction. He gave me a kiss on the cheek and we took pictures and joked that I could never wash my cheek where "the Fonz" had kissed me. Silly. I know.

My husband is totally fascinated with wanting to meet famous people, like Bono or Larry Bird. People are so willing to get excited about that possibility that a few summers ago the only way I convinced my husband to go sleuthing through a lost cemetery for his long forgotten family history, was to remind him that it was in the same town where Larry Bird grew up and we could eat at his restaurant and take a picture wearing his Olympic Dream Team jacket. He was suddenly all in and so excited that as we got in the truck with friends to leave there was a couple heading into the restaurant and Ted rolled down the window and casually said, "have fun, I'm Larry Bird's cousin." The shock and awe on that couple's face as they reached for their cameras to take a picture a second before Ted burst out laughing and admitted it was a joke, was priceless. Not to mention the fact that Ted is at least a foot shorter than Larry Bird!

Admittedly, I was very thrilled this last year to finally meet Laura Frantz in person after connecting online through the writing community. But I had to pause last week when at a dinner party a friend who beta reads for me asked me who was the most famous and exciting person I've gotten to know and meet at my writer's conventions--suddenly I couldn't name a single person. I really don't personally know many of the authors I read. It's not like I know their children's names, or if they had a bad day, or their greatest life highs and lows, like a BFF.

Why? Well, I think it's because truly fan-girling or man-fanning is a phenomenon. It's not a real relationship. It's a real connection. But it's really sort of one-directional. What could Henry Winkler, Larry Bird, Bono, or Laura Frantz actually know about me? What I know about them is that their life and their story connected to something in me that I feel I now own.

The Fonz shaped my idea of American dating in the 50's that defined masculinity for that time in culture. Larry Bird is part of what I consider the Old Breed of athleticism, dedication, and determination in the sports world that touched thousands of young boys and men in small town America for decades. Bono's music has given expression to a world yearning to break free and find what we are looking for. And Laura, and all my other favorite authors? What makes me lift them up in my mind? We could spend hours discussing why a society has the need to worship fame.

But I think its the mere truth that the art, the work, and the stories they tell--all communicate something in the human experience that connects us to a sense of knowing we are not alone. We share common hopes, dreams, doubts, ideas. And I don't need to know one personal thing about any of them, or them about  me--to believe that we share much of the human experience expressed in their life's work. And in those moments that hit me when the words on the page, or the perfect shot, or the sound of Bono with Edge in the background--those are the moments we have made a connection. The moment their story intersects with mine, and becomes part of me.

I'm not famous. Nor do I aspire to become famous. Actually, the idea is very daunting. I feel bad enough when I can't recall the face of someone I should know, or met more than once, let alone remember what we talked about. But when you work with the public this interaction happens. I forget when I've shared something a little personal with someone and then I'm surprised if they recall it. As an ICU nurse (not that ICU nurses are famous! lol), years ago I had to help defibrillate a woman on a Good Friday. She survived and I said something to her, never imagining I'd meet her again years later to have her quote to me that I'd told her "it's Good Friday, and God wants you to know it's good." It stunned me, no it shook me that the words I'd said had stayed with her, meant that much. It was unnerving. Not that there was anything special about me particularly, but more the idea that WORDS matter that much. That we have a responsibility to say them as best we can. For the human experience. For Truth. With God.

What words, books, movies, works of art, heroes, or heroines have impacted your life the most?
Who do you Fan-girl? Who are you a Man-Fan of? Why?
Why do you believe we have such a need for heroines and heroes?
Who is the most famous person you've met? What was your response?

For HP fans here's the link: Superfans! A Tom Felton Documentary
And for a dear "fan" who we've learned to know and love, Bonnie, we love you & pray for you.
#PrayForAFan #PrayForAHero #PrayForAHeroine #FanGirlManFan

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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  1. Loved reading this! :) When I was younger, I enjoyed sports so Michael Jordan was my hero. I also enjoyed my bands and movie actors to some respect, but mostly basketball players. David Robinson, Hakeem, Scottie Pippin. All sort of from right after Larry Bird like your husband.

    Now, I appreciate great writers and poets. C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, Jane Austen etc. I have many, many on this list. I think for me, I feel such a kinship to these people, because of how their words traveled with me through different periods, good and hard, of my life. Reading Jane of Lantern Hill at a hard part of my life, blessed me SO much. Lewis and Tolkien have given me so much courage and inspired me to be brave and know that I'm not alone in rock-bottom moments. Jane's wit and humor and romance have inspired and warmed me. Again, I could go on and on. Heroes in our culture is a mixed bag for me, really, because as a Christian my value system of judging what a true hero is, is very different than others. I mean even thinking back to Jordan. In real life, he has struggle as a person. Not that people have to be perfect, no not at all, but I wonder if ER nurses and paramedics and many others aren't more heroic than our big stars. I'm not really sure if actors fall into my hero status. LOL! ;) I mean I love many good movies, but somehow, I'm not as giving to them as other artists like writers or painters. Maybe stage actors. ;) Movie actor fame is VERY hard for me to swallow and how much they and professional athletes are paid. Now I got on a roll! LOL. I haven't met very many famous people. I'm trying to remember who's the most famous person I've met. I took a couple photos with a band. I think Sally Clarkson is the only person I've met who is famous. My favorite mothering writer. She was sweet and gracious. In hindsight, I wish I had asked her how she was doing instead of gushing. ;) :P

    1. Yes, Amy, I like the word kinship you used to describe how I've felt about favorite authors too. Very fitting. And I agree, what I admire is how their work touched my life at certain times and places. And yes to Lewis, Tolkien, and Austen! :) I would agree with you about actor status not really being my true heroes/heroines. Actors aren't synonymous with the role they play. I'm not a "superfan" by any means, I actually sort of feel sad for many famous people because I think they don't get to be just normal people, and I wonder who they can really trust. Media and fame make it hard to see them as real how you think of when you thought of asking Sally how she really was, or praying for a famous person's soul.

  2. I'm not a huge celeb follower or fan-girl over them. I have realized that I don't necessarily like these people in real life - you know that saying of you won't like what you find. I have no desire to meet anyone like that. The only fan-girling I have been able (and wanted) to do is meeting my fave singers of Celtic Thunder. I'm shy - so I can barely speak when I finally get my turn to get a picture with them. LOL. It is embarrassing and my hubby laughs at me every time. As for authors - I haven't met any of them that I love to follow. I have that "facebook friendship" going with some, but never met in person. I'm afraid I'd probably act the same way - like a total spazz fan-gurling over them. Haha!!

    1. Susan, many many authors are also shy and introverted. Face it. Writing is a very very solitary activity. Many authors have trouble putting themselves "out there" with their readers, or trying to market themselves to put their work into new hands--it's an awkward endeavor. For all the positives or negatives of FaceBook--I think it softens that awkwardness. It gives readers and authors a place to find what's in common. For all the great words authors manage to get onto the page, often in person, they may feel as tongue-tied as you feel. But I think if we try to stick to that kinship-ness feeling Amy mentioned as a way of connecting--it softens all the nerves. :)


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