I’ve been following Ecstatic Days, Jeff VanderMeer’s blog for awhile, and a few days ago, I finally commented on this post. Jeff replied. Last night, I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep, and I suddenly thought “I just had a conversation with Jeff-fucking-Vandermeer. Oh my God, I love that guy.”
Now, you may be wondering why I’m making such a big deal of this fan squee moment. Well, for three reasons:
- I’ve never understood the concept of a fangirl/fanboy moment. Authors are awesome people, sure, I thought, but they’re just people. I respect them for writing great books, but I’d be more nervous from having nothing interesting to say to them than from some speechlessness over their literary awesomeness.
- I’ve commented and been responded to on several author blogs, none more or less awesome than Jeff VanderMeer.
- Beyond the first chapters excerpt I read to respond to the post in question, I’ve never actually read one of Jeff’s books. Not even a short story. He’s on my TBR list, sure, because I hear so many great things about his books. (And, from the excerpt, these compliments appear to be totally deserved.) And yet I freaked out, days after the fact.
But hey, I’m nothing special. Fanboy moments are the bane of convention-goers—both author and reader alike. Nothing is more embarrassing than meeting your idol and completely freezing up the first word they say to you. I mean, they’re a literary God! And you’re just some reader/writer who nobody knows or cares much about. (And this applies to you whether you’re a multi-published author or a twelve-year-old at their first con—with your parents… ughhh.) How else should you react to meeting them?
Fan Freakout Syndrome(FFS) is practically its own pandemic in most fields of endeavour. Movie stars, sports stars, even someone’s favorite scientist. Anyone you admire can trigger a debilitating attack of Holy SHIT! By just saying “Hello”. As much as an author might appreciate gushing praise on a now-and-then basis, constantly running into people who make total fools of themselves in your presence can get rather tiring.
And it’s even worse than that, because the fan usually realizes halfway through what they’re doing. This realization is followed by the dreaded “awkward silence”, where the fan experiences a second freakout:
“Oh my god! I’m such a tool. A fool, a clown, a total dumbass. I’ve totally ruined this. What a fuck-up, I bet they despise me! *weeps on the inside* They must see this all the time. Shit, shit, shit!”
If they’re lucky, they’ve not said this aloud. (But the writer, being such an astute judge of character, will see it all in the half-second it flashes across the humiliated fan’s visage. Right?)
Now, since my freakout was not only private but internuts-mediated, I have retained some semblance of my dignity, even if I’ve plastered my semi-embarrassment all across the web–you know, because everybody reads this blog. Including Jeff, obviously. (Right Jeff? You read my blog, right?)
So, next time you embarrass yourself in front of your favorite author, remember, they now despise you. You make them cringe every time they see you. They would rather give their grandmother a foot massage than experience one more second in your presence. But don’t feel bad, you’re not alone.