Thoughts on Fame

Have you ever thought about being famous? Don’t lie, of course you have. If you’ve ever heard of fame, you’ve thought about it. There are different kinds of fame, like celebrity, infamy, popularity, etc.

I’ve thought about being famous. I’m an aspiring writer who likes to act, it’s sort of a hard thought to avoid. But it’s weird to think about, because half the time I hate the idea of fame.

I would hate losing privacy and I would hate people feeling entitled to ask personal questions. I hate both those things enough as it is. I would really hate meeting people for the first time and them already knowing everything about me, like the way a one-way mirror works. You’re a lab rat and they are simply observing, waiting for you to make a mistake for which the fallout will be plentiful.

I imagine it’s like strangers standing in your room watching you while you’re sleeping, studying you while you’re unaware and vulnerable. One time a maintenance guy fixed the radiator in my dorm room in the early morning while I was asleep. Let me tell you, when I read the email telling me it had been fixed while I was sleeping, it was such a terrifying feeling, like you’re stuck in a horror film.

The other half the time, I try to convince myself that I wouldn’t do badly if I were famous. First I think, why do people have to know me at all? I could be famous like Lemony Snicket or Dr. Seuss, so people know a name but not me. Or I could be famous and help people and change the world, bringing attention to those who need it. I could be famous and speak out about what I believe in, and stand up for what I think is right. Or I could just be a person who exists, who everyone knows of but no one knows, letting them talk to me but not saying much back. Like a mystery.

If I were famous I could just enjoy it. Have people hang off my every word whether it’s about something I couldn’t fit into my book, like J.K. Rowling often does, or if it’s just about my life and for some reason people care. I could be nice and good and answer questions politely and use fame to advance my career while people like me and idolize me, or I could call people out with so much venom in my voice that people fear me and still idolize me. I think I would hate being idolized.

But I can’t be all those different types of famous at the same time. So I try to pick the one route I’d go with if it ever became real. I always arrive at the same conclusion:

I don’t want to be famous, but I want my work to be famous. If I write books I want people to read them, and if I make films I want people to watch them. I already have people who care about me, but I want people to care about what I’ve made. That’s all.

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