~~ "She has so many aliases, you'd think she was a spy!" ~~

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why I <3 Nora

I love Nora Roberts so much. Not only is she an amazing writer and an amazing professional, but she’s snortingly funny (and I’ve heard she’s hilarious to party with). Smart Bitches, Trashy Books posted a note about an Australian “write the beginning of a bodice ripper” contest to win a “pamper hamper.” The contest is about twenty levels of offensive, starting with the fact that “bodice ripper” is a derogatory term for romances and doesn’t have anything to do with Mills & Boon (category) romance anyway.

First person to comment on the Smart Bitches site? Nora herself. With her “entry.” And it’s fabulously awful, and I love her for it. She doesn’t comment there a lot, but every time she does, it’s snarky and funny and witty and smart.

You know, at RWA last year I was at a party that Nora was at (thank you again, Phaedra, for letting me be your date!), and I was too scared to go up and talk to her. Seriously, every time I saw her at the conference, I practically ducked my head, my brain hissing “Eek, it’s Nora! No, don’t look! Did she see me?”

Dudes, I can flirt shamelessly with my favorite rock star, but I can’t talk to a fellow author?! The same thing happened when I met Guy Gavriel Kay. I was going to leave the convention without talking to him. I went to the bathroom before we left the hotel, looked in the mirror, and realized that if I didn’t talk to him, I’d regret it for the rest of my life. So then I had to have a drink to screw up my courage. And I bought him a drink, because in his speech earlier he’d said the price of a question was a shot of single malt. I handed it to him, and he put it next to the other two next to his chair…and proceeded to chat with me (in a small group of people) for several hours. Seriously. A totally nice guy, and I'd been terrified.

The only thing I can figure is that with rock stars and actors and whoever awe me on a particular level (or maybe two: awe of talent and desperate desire to shag), there’s an added thing with writers (er, and a subtracted thing: generally not desperate to shag. No offense to any writers out there.): professional awe. I don’t just respect their work, I want to be them. I want to mind-meld with them and share their knowledge and talent. I want that respect back, maybe not to the same degree, but a level of “I’m not just a fan, I’m a fellow writer.”

Anybody else out there with a similar reaction? Musician friends: Do you have this with other musicians? Etc?


Eilidh said...

Tiny bit, depends on the musician and the venue. At Baja Prog, everything was so *casual* that it was nothing to walk up to the musicians from other bands and, well, basically party with them all week. And I've met Patrick Stewart after a show at the back door, for autographs, and felt a teensy bit like I was inconveniencing him, but he was sweet about it. I've always wondered if Anne McCaffrey would enjoy a cuppa tea with me, but I'd hate to intrude. But I can easily picture taking the Yarn Harlot for a beer.

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Hm. I think I wasn't entirely clear. At Baja Prog, did you consider those musicians your peers or were they musicans you wanted to emulate? (I know they can be both.) In other words, how would you feel about meeting Tori Amos or Kate Bush?

Most celebrities (actors, musicians, etc.) know that part of the job is interacting with fans. Patrick wouldn't have come to the back door if he didn't want to sign autographs. I always wait for Lawrence (or any of the guys) to approach me, or wait until it's clear they're not in a private confersation, especially in the Foundation Room.

Anne is a wonderful, warm person! I only spoke with her for a few minutes, and she was a dear. I don't remember being scared, but when I found out she was the mystery guest at the banquet, I gasped out loud and did panic a little. :-)

cavalaxis said...

I was stunned to the point of vapor lock when I first met HE. He is the writer I would most want to be compared to. He is fierce and fearless and larger than life. His voice rings clear on the page. And by the time we met face to face, he knew who I was, so he actually called me out of a crowd of people to give me a huge hug & kiss. I was utterly gobsmacked. Ask William, he'll tell you. He had to tie a kite string to my ankle just to get me home.

Now, after a few years of friendship, I know he's just as insecure about his work and his reputation as I have ever been. And this man has won Hugos.

I still adore him (regardless of what anyone says, he's a mensch in my book). If he threw away a fingernail's worth of talent, I'd go scrabbling through the gutter after it. But it was a huge blow to learn that the insecurity that writers feel never goes away.

Hope said...

I am that way with visual artists. (painters, sculptors, scribes, etc) Well, ok... anyone with a touch of fame.

I'll stare with rapt attention while they talk to a group but run in terror of one-on-one. It is that insecurity that Iliana spoke of. I never feel "good enough" and don't want to be a "bother" to those I admire.

Yep, insecurities... I has it. ;)

Angell said...

Well...since I am neither a professional musician or writer, all I can comment on is my experiences working security and meeting celebrities.

There are some where I will stare and blush and stammer - Steven Tyler, Victor Garber, Donald Sutherland, and Paul McCartney are a few that come to mind.

Then there are others that I can smile and talk to with no problems - Lawrence Gowan, Ricky Phillips, the American Idols (minus Constantine - I still stammered like a moron), Gwen Stefani, Tommy Lee, the guys from Green Day....

I guess it's true - desire to shag might be the cause of the stammering and shyness, but to me it's also the vibes I get. Larry and Ricky are so approachable. Steven Tyler had the "leave me the fuck alone" vibe happening. Now, I'm not saying he has that all the time, but it just happened to be the vibe during the time I was working the show.

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Lynn, I totally get that (although he's never gobsmacked me the same way)--and yes, every writer I know, "new" to "pro," has the same issues with insecurity...it's like when Neil Gaiman says he calls his agent and says "This book was a stupid idea; I can't do it," and she replies, "Oh, you're at that point in the book, aren't you?" I'm still learning to recognize when I hit that point... Sigh.

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Hope, that's interesting! I don't think I've met any visual artists that I was so awed by that I'd feel that way.

Then again, almost all of my favorite painters have been dead for decades... :-)

No, I take that back. I would give limbs to have Thomas Canty do one of my book covers, especially if he put me in it (as he's done for Kristine Kathryn Rusch, three times! And she has one of the originals and I have yet to successfully sneak it out of her office... :::ggg:::).

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Angell, interesting point about the vibes. I think that if I got that kind of vibe, I'd just not care--unless I got it from anyone in Styx. I'm not sure there's another artist who, if they seemed unapproachable, would be someone I'd bother approaching. (Does that make sense?)

That's funny about Steven Tyler, because Tani has a completely opposite story about him! (Involving him crawling over a table going "Oh, girlyyyy," at her!)

But if I got the "leave me the fuck alone" vibe from him, I'd be, shrug, 'kay, and not care.

Angell said...

Dayle - yes, but Tani's cuter than I am :P Not to mention I WAS working, so it could be that he didn't want to distract me from my job. LOL. Let's look at it that way. XD

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Of course! Plus he was working. My point was only that celebrities can act differently at different times. They're human, too. There are some people who've felt Tommy snubbed them, and he's just a sweetheart, really. But when he's focused, or tired--I can't blame him at all for not stopping to chat.

Besides, who says Tani is cuter than you?