As you can probably tell, I’m not just a reader and watcher of things, but a very enthusiastic fan of the stories I like, and a sworn enemy to the stories I don’t. If I am just lukewarm about a book I’m reading, I end up hating it for its serviceability. That’s how I was raised by my mother, who successfully struck up some sort of correspondence with at least a few of her favorite writers, the one that comes to mind being John Updike, who sent her a few autumn leaves from his front yard upon her request. In turn, through my devotion to her writing and the happy coincidence of living in the same city and running in similar circles, I ended up having a very enriching friendship with the writer Francesca Lia Block in my teens. I ended up spawning a few fans of my own though, by writing a sort of well-known (after years of working at it) zine in my teens and being in a couple bands, and I really like that aspect of my hero worship complex, the fact that I’ve been both a hero and someone in need of a hero. The part I don’t like about my habit of adoration is that when I moved to Olympia, Washington to get my bachelor’s degree, in the late nineties, it was partially because I liked the structure of The Evergreen State College, but also because I’d been obsessed with the Olympia punk scene since I was 13, and I wanted to know my heroes and become one of them. I didn’t become a hero, but I did become acquaintances with most of the people I’d worshipped (except my Hero Hero Hero of All Heroes, Kathleen Hanna, Goddess of my Feminism), and uh it did not work out well! I mistakenly snaked one of their boyfriends (being unaware of the relationship until later) and got on that lady’s shitlist –holy shit, this is a woman I’d idolized for years! I also had two gross lecherous acquaintanceships with 2 of the rare men that were a part of this music scene I loved so much. I have a ton of disappointed memories like this. It’s for the best to have had these experiences, because they really drove home the reality of human fallibility, and this is a lesson I needed to learn, because I had and still sort of have some very high expectations. And as evidenced by this blog, I still look up to people I don’t know. But by now they’re mostly dead (Kurt Cobain) or so huge (Obama) or so fictional (Hermione Granger) I will never run the risk of meeting them and being disappointed. I’m thinking about this because I watched an excellent film last night called This Must Be the Place, about an aging, Robert Smith-like rockstar named Cheyenne who is sad for years and years because 2 of his fans committed suicide and it was suggested that his gloomy songs had something to do with it. In the present, he is good friends and very protective of a young girl who is in awe of him and has a catalogue memory of all his personal anecdotes, that’s how much she idolizes him – and there’s the suggestion that he feels responsible for making her happy because of the fans that’d killed themselves. The character of Cheyenne is sweet and interesting but also self-awaredly pathetic and the scenes of young people who are starstruck by him very effectively depict the anticlimax of meeting your god.
|a young John Updike|
Two thumbs up for This Must Be the Place and two “Hang in There!”s to the memory of my young self in Olympia and two nostalgically blown kisses to my pre-suicide fantasies of being best friends with Kurt Cobain and two “Please let me interview you for by blog!” begs to Kathleen Hanna and two enthusiastic wishes for you all to have a great weekend. xoxoxox Robin