Monday, May 3, 2010

Being a Fan

Awhile back, I was chatting it up on twitter with cool bookish peeps as I'm wont to do, and the issue of being a fan came up.

Let's just make one thing clear. I'm a fan. Not of everything and actually not of as much as you might think. Long term fan devotion from me is not that easy to earn. I'm sorry, authors, singers, TV people, I tend to obsess hard and fast over something and then move on.

But every once in awhile I do become a real fan of something (or someone). LOST. Andrew Peterson. Beth Kephart. Book bloggers.

Anyway, the ever wise Jason pointed out that being a fan of dead authors actually works quite a bit better because you can fawn over them all you like and they don't know! Strange as it may seem, this has stuck in my head, because it's true. I'm a verbal person, I like to talk a lot about just how much I love something, but sometimes I fear my gushing is a bit off-putting in this day and age of the internet when that very person whose accolades I'm singing can be very aware of it. The internet, most of the time for the better, has removed the barrier between fan and author/artist. But in this case, it can be a bit embarrassing. And on the flip side, there's always the chance that an author or artist will behave in such a way online as to completely turn you off the beauty of their work.

I've spent considerable time thinking about this. Because an artist's online personality can actually give me a deeper appreciation for their work. Andrew Peterson's essays and creation of the Rabbit Room only made me an even bigger fan. Knowing Beth Kephart has only made every book she's written more vibrant and alive and beautiful to me. The considerable and extensive care and creation of extra content for LOST fans pleases me. Chatting on twitter, gchat, skype, and in real life has made the book blogs I read come to life.

It's an interesting dynamic. Does knowing an artist give a greater appreciation for the depth of their work? Does it remove the ability to view it objectively if you know the wells from which the words were plucked?

It's a necessary gamble that artists make, to reveal themselves online. But I'm so glad for the ones who have made the gamble, and won my heart.


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