The horror of meeting your heroes

Or “This is a second post in less than a day because I feel guilty for putting these posts off”.

My last post may have been a little self-indulgent, and I’m okay with that. Now back to things to do with writing. I have my fair share of people I consider heroes. I’m not just talking celebrities, by the way, though there will be a fair few of those mentioned here (hence the title). The people who have succeeded in accomplishing things I fear I could only manage in my wildest dreams. Their works and success are driving factors in my own writing, as I want to eventually reach an audience through publication. I’m not saying, by any means, I think I’ll ever reach such tremendous audiences as, say, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, Terry Pratchett, or Douglas Adams (to name only a few).

However, as much as I love to read their works and enjoy them as these sorts of pillars of an art I hold in the highest regards, I think I would probably have a severe mental breakdown of sorts if I ever met one of them. It’s a very weird concept to me, and a very real fear with my occasional trips to conventions (far less now than when I was younger).

Meeting my heroes is terrifying to me because these are people who have done these amazing, fantastic things, and so I can’t help but feel like a mote of dust by comparison. I acknowledge, and accept, that this is a completely ridiculous line of thinking, and it’s worse because it’s not limited to the heroes I have who I’ve never met. People like Onezumi and Harknell, the founders of Interventioncon and personal heroes of mine, are easy to talk to and wonderful overall. I still get a bit anxious around them. Ridiculous! But it’s one of those things where it’s a matter of wanting to not look like such a failure by comparison, where these people are absolute rock stars of what they do.

And then there’s the fear of building them up so much only to be disappointed with what I meet. I realize that may be a bit shocking, especially after the last paragraph. This bit applies to the heroes I’ve not met as opposed to the ones I know. I can honestly say I would probably weep if I met Neil Gaiman (or Terry Pratchett or Christopher Moore). These are people whose books have treasured spots in my library and have made me want to become a better writer. I want to create amazing worlds, filled with all sorts of diverse and terrific characters, and it’s because of these authors. However, there’s always the small problem that the work doesn’t equal the person and so I could very well be setting myself up for disappointment.

Let me end with a couple questions: how do you, dear readers, feel about meeting your heroes? Who do you idolize, and why? How quickly would you melt into a puddle of fanatical goo if you met one of those heroes?

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