I wrote an article in the past where I said that I have never wanted to reach out and touch an artist or a writer or an actor or whatever, just because I enjoyed their work. And no, I didn’t mean it that way, you pervert. However, it seems that with the wide-spread reach of the Internet, there are a lot of fans who absolutely want direct and unfettered access to their favorite celebrities and the creators are expected to provide it on a regular basis or people get mad. Creators are on Twitter, they’re on Facebook, they’ve got websites where people can ask questions and get quick answers on a wide variety of subjects, just because they bought the creator’s book, painting or DVD box set. They have to be able to communicate and interact with their heroes!
Well screw that. As a creator, I already interact with my “public”, for lack of a better word. I write. That’s the communication. There you go. You’re welcome.
Now I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I have never, in my life, read a book or watched a movie or anything else and gotten the burning desire to meet, talk to or otherwise interact with the people who created the work. Never. I don’t get the interest. They’re just people, I wouldn’t treat them any differently than I do anything else, they have a job, just like anyone else, and their job is to create these works of fiction for public enjoyment. That’s it. Big deal. Talking to them doesn’t make the works any better or worse and while I have gotten to know a great number of writers and artists and actors and the like over the years, I think the reason that I have gotten to be their friends is because I treat them like regular people. I like them for who they are, not for what they do. I don’t tend to drop names but I mentioned once that I knew Ray Bradbury before he died. Some people consider him to be a revolutionary author and a science fiction legend. He was just Ray. We talked once in a while. I ran into him at SDCC in his wheelchair at the same place virtually every year as he made his way across the dealer’s room. It became a tradition, at least until I stopped going to SDCC. Actually, SDCC was odd that way, I’d meet up with the same people in the same spot year after year. I had an old friend from my anime days that I’d see outside the bathrooms next to the Sails Pavillion. This happened at least 6-8 years in a row, I still have no explanation for it. Anyhow, I have the same kind of relationship with a lot of other creative people in various industries. We are friendly toward each other. Some of them I know very well, I go to their houses, etc. Some of them, we recognize each other at events and spend time together when we can, we might e-mail once in a while, but otherwise we’re not all that close. But you know something, I don’t spend time with any of them because of their professional work, but because I like them as human beings.
But today there’s an expectation that stars spend a huge amount of their time directly interacting with their fawning fans. There are some that I follow on Twitter that either I’ve met in the past or just like their work and they are absurdly active, posting dozens or hundreds of tweets every single day because technology shoehorns their fans into their living rooms on a constant basis. I’ll be honest, I don’t care what they are doing in their personal lives any more than I care what anyone online is doing. I don’t give a damn what music you like, I don’t give a damn where you are or what you spend your life doing. I care if you tell me you’re releasing a new book or starring in a new movie, that’s all. Beyond that, you go live your life, I’ll go live mine.
I bring this up because, in a writing community, people were talking about the necessity of writers to have that kind of access for their fans. You have to have a Facebook presence, you have to have a Twitter presence and you have to have a personal website that caters not to giving information to your fans, but in interacting with your fans. It’s not about omnidirectional information but bi-directional communication. Personally, I don’t want to do that, sorry. I’m not down on my fans but I’m not living 24/7 for them either. Here is a book. I’m glad that you like it. If we run into each other at a convention or on the street or whatever, I’d be happy to sign it for you. However, I’m not going to let you stalk me, I’m not going to make myself available all the time so that you can feel special, I am going to live my life as a private individual, just like every other profession out there. If that doesn’t make you happy, I’m sorry. Maybe you should stop living vicariously through your heroes.
You know, get a life.