There is nothing as pathetic as a struggling writer who has been tossed a crumb of recognition from a celebrity.
Point in case: me.
Yesterday, following the excellent Canada Reads 10th Anniversary ‘Essential Book of the Decade’ Contest on CBC Radio (http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadareads/), the listeners/viewers were asked to pose questions to any panel member where it might be chosen to be used live, on-air. I posted my question using my CBC username ‘souls5’ and popped out to take our 11 year old to school. I knew I could watch the rest of the show on-line later, after I’d rid myself of all hangers-on and riff raff.
Imagine my heart-skipping thrill when Jian Ghomeshi, brilliant CBC radio personality and host, chose MY question to be posed to newly minted winner Ali Velshi (equally brilliant CNN journalist and broadcaster), who championed the winning book The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis. The book I really wanted to win and LOVED. (I have talked to Terry on the phone, actually...LONG story, great guy!)
This was my Pulitzer Prize winning question:
Because The Best Laid Plans is an entertaining cross between 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington' and 'Seabiscuit', this apolitical 50 year old Canadian inadvertently learned more about the inner-workings of government than I learned from anywhere else. Do you agree that this should be required reading for all Gr. 12 students?
The Seabicuit line made them laugh. I knew it would, given half the chance. Ali laughed, Jian laughed and the studio audience laughed...and I even heard Lorne Cardinal chuckle. Comedy Gold for a lightweight author like me. These were the bigwigs being entertained by ME! On air and LIVE! Thousands of people in Canada and hundreds from around the world were listening to my words! All 52 of them. They were my captive audience, if only for a millisecond.
It was like being published, in a surreal, paperless, inkless kind of way.
How excited was I? Well, I replayed the sequence dealing with my question/answer (at the 25:00 minute mark on the Finale Q&A, should you be so inclined to view it on the clearer, original version) around 100 times...completely unable to go on with the show. I was mesmerized. Bewitched. Entranced. I was toking on a celebrity roach and higher than a kite. I video taped the segment and posted in my Face Book and tagged half of Canada. It is barely audible but did I care? Of course not. It was tangible! Sort of.
Replay, Replay. Replay.
I watched it small screen, full screen, with glasses on, glasses off, with my hubby, with my daughter, lights on, lights off, sitting close to the screen, standing a few feet back and with Harvey The Imaginary Rabbit (on loan from Jimmy Stewart) and I know every second of it by heart. Every movement made by every person and every sound. It took me a full 20 minutes to finally watch the rest of the show. But I came back to it again and again once it was over until I eventually got a headache and crawled into bed, only to have a fitful sleep plagued with giant winged-books being flown by bald-headed librarians all screaming for my autograph.
Repercussions? Well, my eyes are permanently crossed and my replay finger is blood-crusted, in a splint and needs surgery.
AND...consider this atrocity: They all knew it was a ‘great on-line question’ (quote Jian!) coming from...who? souls5. My big moment, my 1.15 minutes of fame and they didn’t even know my real name. Didn’t even know I was female. Or human. Just souls5. Yep...make sure nobody knows who you are Denise. Hide your identity. Live in a cloak of secrecy and anonymity. THAT is the way to get noticed and published! Well done!
Did you notice when Jian said my username, there was an audible giggle from the audience? I think they assumed it was hastily crafted in reference to the 5 panelists (each with their favorite book) who had been vying for the win. They didn’t know the name honored my five children and was created years ago. *sigh*
Alas! So is the fleeting, flickering, fickle, flame of fame oft times dashed in infancy.
But I wasn’t dead in the water yet. In a manic attempt to stretch the high just a bit longer, I hurriedly went on Face Book and commented on Ali, Jian and Terry’s sites (and made sure to change my profile pic to one that was flattering, conspicuous and 20 years younger) and introduced myself. I wasn’t going down without a fight for at least a smidgen of true recognition. And you know what? Ali sent me a Face Book 'friend' request. Yea...that's right...uh huh. Just me a 20 thousand others. I can see you are impressed.
And that, my friends, is the all-time winner for the most pitiable foray into the world of celebrity and literature, one is ever likely to witness. If I ever start a rock band, I'll call it 'Seeking Validation'.
But don’t worry. If I ever get my book published, I think I’ll handle it just fine...