I live great chunks of my life in my daydreams. My imagination is active and somewhat strange, and I encourage little fantasies to keep it that way. One of my biggest fears is that my imagination will stagnate, my thoughts and dreams will become mundane. As a writer, I’m given a bit of leverage when it comes to indulging my daydreams, and staring off into space for extended periods of time is expected.
This is also how I gauge what my true goals are. I set goals for myself all the time, but my mind tells me what’s actually important to me, what I’ll subconsciously go after. Both my personal and professional goals are measured and weighed based on how I feel when I let particular fantasies play out in my head. If seeing a certain result makes me feel good or proud, I arrange my goals to meet that end. If something in the fantasy makes me feel uncomfortable or ‘not quite right’, I take a closer look at the goal and the means. I have avoided many bad decisions this way.
I’m telling you all of this because one of my most frequently recurring daydreams is of meeting my celebrity idols. No, idols isn’t the right word. Celebrity inspirations? People I look up to who happen to be moderately famous? You get the idea. I’m not talking about the puppy-love-struck fantasies of adolescence, but the admiration-laden dreams of adulthood. (Though I’m sure some would argue that they are more similar than I’m willing to admit.)
Like the one where I’m in line at a signing. I stand there, waiting in nervous anticipation clutching copies of their work to my chest in a futile attempt to hold my excitement in check. When I finally reach the table, I don’t fangirl squee all over them, but instead tell them how much I enjoy their work and how much they have inspired me. A spark of recognition glints in their eyes, and suddenly they know who I am. They are big fans of my work, too. It becomes a meeting of the Mutual Admiration Society.
This dream is useful in so many ways, like pushing me to have work for which people will recognize me. It’s a serious boost to the ego, to imagine someone knowing and enjoying my work. It can also be destructive, though. On the bad days when I haven’t worked on anything more meaningful than a tweet, it is my critic’s favorite tool. I’ll never write anything that good, so why try? Why even bother, when those people will never know my name. Or, is that the only reason you commit to this torture day after day – to be known by someone famous? Because that seems like a pretty terrible reason to write.
My critic is an asshole, but he’s not wrong.
I’m thinking about this today because there are some people I don’t want to meet until I have proof that they inspired me, until I have something to show them. Maybe that’s silly, but I don’t want one of them to ask the dreaded “What have you written?” and my only answer to be “A few blogs and some decent tweets.” I’m not holding out for a New York Times Best Seller, but “I just sold to [INSERT PUBLISHER HERE]” would be nice.
All of this is to say that, even if I had the financial means, I probably wouldn’t go to the conventions and book signings and concerts that part of me desperately wants to go to. I don’t want to meet these people as just another fan in the crowd. I want to meet them as a peer.
I know I’m falling behind on my journal pages. I also know I’ve been a little down the past few days. I’m taking steps to fix that. Things will get better. I just have to work through it.