Friday, February 10, 2017

Imagined Conversations with Famous People

Months ago, I did a little survey for Matt's and my anniversary. Matt (mostly) correctly guessed that if I could be best friends with a celebrity, I'd choose Stephen King or JK Rowling. When Ana posted about her race with Christopher McDougall, it sparked a memory of that post. It got me thinking about what I would talk about if I were given the chance to run (or walk) with either of them.

Why SK and JR? Well, Stephen King is the author I credit with making me a reader. I could take or leave reading as a kid, but in 4th grade I selected Cujo from my parents' vast shelf of King novels and it completely changed my relationship with books. Suddenly I became a voracious reader and budding writer. I consumed every King book I could get my hands on and I read them without stopping, often finishing them within 48 hours.
I'm pretty sure this was the edition my parents had.
When I first started reading the Harry Potter series, I was in high school. My mom gave me the second book, telling me I could skip the first and not be too lost in the series. (Yes, the first time I reread the entire series, I finally read The Sorcerer's Stone for the first time and it may actually be my favorite. It's so much lighter and funnier than the others!) Anyway, the series obviously opened my eyes to social justice and gave me a smart, kickass female protagonist to look up to.
But the series did more. It helped me understand the genre I was interested in writing. I hadn't realized I was a fantasy/adventure writer until I read Harry Potter, and the revelation was welcome and comforting. JK Rowling made fantasy mainstream, acceptable, and cool.

So anyway. Stephen King actually has a house down the road from one of my high school friends; he was at the Women's March in Sarasota; Britt got to hear him speak - so jealous!
If I could go on a run (or walk) with him, I'd ask:

How did you silence the internal critic who told you your work was garbage?
How did you persevere and find a market for your novels?

Rowling is notoriously active on Twitter and trolls are no match for her British wit. I love watching her take them down. Here are just a few that made me laugh recently:
These are in response to DT supporters who are angry that she speaks out against him frequently.
She also donates absurd amounts of money to charity and began an organization that helps displaced children, called Lumos. If I were to walk with Rowling, I'd ask:

How do you get people to take you seriously being a woman best known for your YA fantasy series?
What can I do to positively impact people and change lives, as you have?

I'd ask them: How did you manage to achieve such success when you came from such broken, disadvantaged backgrounds, and how can I use your examples to inspire students?
I'd ask them: What would you say to someone who looks at the world and feels hopeless?
I'd tell them: Thank you.
I know now that reading and writing saved my life in many ways. I found solace in books and words; I found places where I belonged; I discovered that people who thought like me existed in the world and were successful adults. I didn't realize then how much I needed that, but these days, I know enough to be grateful.

If you could spend time with any celebrity, who would you choose? 
What would you ask them?



  1. I love that Stephen King was at the march!! I used to read his stuff in college. Some books I liked but he tended to be too wordy for me! However I have liked nearly every one of his books turned movie so I do like his plots and the way his feast brain works. I'm not sure what I would ask a celebrity! When I met rob Center nino this past fall (only a celeb to me) I didn't realize I'd actually get to have a convo with him so I had no thoughts prepared!

    1. See, I love his wordiness. Sometimes on the rereads I'll skip through that stuff, but I feel like the worlds and characters he creates are fascinating! I always used to wonder why he'd put in so much random detail about characters, but then I'd end up feeling like I really knew them!

  2. Wow reading Cujo in 4th grade must have been intense!

    Not really sure who I'd want to meet. When I was younger I probably had a whole list but I guess there are few people who impress me as an

    1. I think it was the first time I felt really hooked into a book, like, it was my first "page-turner." I wanted to know what happened! I had never felt that before.

  3. Thanks for the shout out! I am a big geek and have more authors that I would like to meet, than other celebrities. Right now on my list are, JK Rowling, Junot Diaz, Jenny Lawson, Gustavo Arellano, Caitlin Moran, Mitch Albom.

    Did you ever watch the Craig Ferguson show? he had Stephen King as his guest, and those were some of my favorite interviews.

    JK Rowling is just the force we need in the Twitter world of Trolls! I don't know the context of the first tweet, but it doesn't make sense that a HP fan, who has read and understands the book would be offended by JK Rowling attacking Trump.

    1. I LOVE JENNY LAWSON! Her books speak to me on a level that is so honest and raw. I think I have a book of essays by Caitlin Moran on my to-read list...her name sounds familiar.

      I used to watch Craig Ferguson once in awhile but never saw the SK episodes.

      I feel like so many trolls pretend to be old fans who hate her now due to politics, but she catches them out in obvious examples of how they never read the books (like the don't know main plot points, etc). She's amazing.

  4. Ooh, I didn't know you were a sci-fi/fantasy writer. Very cool.

    I'm a fan of Stephen King, his advice on writing has been hugely helpful to me, over and over again. I'm selective about which of his books I read, but I love what I have.

    LOTS of authors I'd love to meet. Right now I'm crushing hard on Alexis Hall, a British m/m romance writer whose books span from contemporary to steampunk to lesbian fantasy crime noir. And then there are authors whose books I love but I'm not sure I would want to meet - and then those that I would be too chickenshit to ask questions of.

    Right now I'm just trying to find other writers at my level (not published) to share inspiration with!

    1. Also, you might be interested in this organization:

    2. MUCH more fantasy than sci-fi, really, and almost fantasy-lite. But it's nice to have a genre to kind of use as a label because for years I wasn't sure what I was writing lol!

      I love steampunk; I wish I were clever enough to write it, but I can never quite get the tone right. Thanks for the link! I'll definitely check it out!