On Idols … & Not Meeting Them

My uncle Gary came to visit from the faraway lands of Vancouver. When my mother mentioned this to me, she continued to add that she had a book for me from him. An advance uncorrected proof of Cory Doctorow’s latest book. That Gary had received from a writer friend of his, William Gibson.

Needless to say, my brain imploded.

The next day, we met for lunch at my place of work — and yes, I realize this is all terribly boring, but bear with me — and Gary talked about having known Bill for several years. When we stood to leave, he asked me whether I had any questions about him.

I said no.

While I think it is terribly incredibly OMG my brain is imploding from the awesome amazing that Gary is such good friends with Bill that he gets invited out to his cabin, or that he has pictures of them all hanging out, or that he brought me a proof of Cory Doctorow’s latest book that Bill Gibson has touched and read and enjoyed — I suppose in the end, I don’t really want to know anything about him that I don’t know from reading the blurb on the cover of his books.

He’s an idol. I pick up Neuromancer to read whenever I feel uninspired to write. He coined the term cyberspace. He is one of the fathers of the cyberpunk genre.

But do I really want to know that much about him? Would I really want to meet him? As an aspiring writer, I cannot even imagine how inferior I would feel to stand next to him, or how self-conscious I would feel — would he think I’m just another rabid fangirl, or a wannabe writer hoping for easy way into publishing?

I think I would feel the same about any of my other idol writers — Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Chuck Palahniuk. Even writers I speak with on Twitter — Lisa Mantchev, for example, who is a sweetheart — or writers I stalk the blogs of — such as Jackson Pearce. Would I really want to meet any of them?

Okay. I suppose I would want to meet Lisa. (By the by, her next novel, So Silver Bright, is released very very soon. Go preorder!) But she is definitely the exception to the rule.

To me, established writers are like the celebrities so many flock to and worship — they are my Lady Gagas, my Paul McCartneys, my Justin Biebers. But unlike those, I prefer my idols at a safe distance. I prefer to think of them as literary gods.

Is that silly? I’m not sure. Do other writers feel this way? Please let me know!

(I promise my next blog post will be something a bit more useful, and not just me fangirling. Promise.)