Fanpires – Don’t Be One

What do we have the right to expect from an artist whose work we love?

My article on being Neil Gaiman’s femme de plume (sounds better than pen woman) the other day seems to have struck a chord with a lot (and I mean a lot) of you guys.  There was an outpouring of stories about meeting Neil, either at the event in Toronto or elsewhere.  Many wrote of their concern for his wellbeing being compromised for the sake of a signature.   I’m amazed at how kind and considerate they are, considering some of the stories of rabid fans and paparazzi you hear about.

We have strange expectations of celebrities, public figures, people who make their living through art especially.  In general the fandom is one-sided, since it is unlikely that Neil Gaiman knows who you are married to, or that Wil Wheaton knows what your first job was.

It can make an encounter with one of these guys feel very strange, like my very brief meeting with Guy Gavriel Kay a few months ago at a signing (from the fan side of the table, this time).  He is hugely important to me, I am one of millions who read him.  Not that he feels disdain or disinterest, but his relationship to me is not mine to him.   Truthfully, it’s not even a relationship.

What is reasonable, in terms of meeting someone like this?  Or our demands of them?

What about Wil Wheaton’s recent revelations on his blog, where he was ambushed by fans while with his child?  I can only imagine how scared and angry I would have been in that situation, where they were actually between him and his son.

And despite the funny memes about Starks dying, George R. R, Martin doesn’t have to care that we are impatient for the next book to come out.  To quote Neil, “George R.R. Martin is not your bitch.”

What do we have the right to expect from an artist whose work we love?

Honestly, nothing.  There’s no contract there.  They don’t even have to be polite.  Which makes those who do take the time precious, but them doing that also doesn’t mean they have to ever do it again.

So thank you to the artists who put themselves out there.  Who know that the brief meeting is so important to those fans.  The comments on the link to my article on Neil Gaiman’s facebook page are very touching, and thank you to everyone who shared their own experiences and thoughts.  One of my favorite things that has come out of all this is the true joy of fandom – getting to share what you love with other people who love it too.

Happy reading!


1 Comment

Filed under Authors, Books, Books in the News, geek lit, Writing

One response to “Fanpires – Don’t Be One

  1. Years ago I was working at a resort in Muskoka and had the pleasure to be the waitress to a couple of (to me anyways) famous Canadians. It was made very clear to use by management that we were there to work, not to “fangirl” and it was hard at first but I had to get used to being just the waitress (and a damn good one I will have you know). I loved their work but had to keep any comments to myself. I guess there will always be people who don’t respect boundaries whether someone is famous or not. Honestly, some of the best times I have had at book signings is talking to other people in line, sharing our reading experiences and our love of books. Getting to meet and say thank you to the author is a bonus.

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