Monday, October 1, 2007

Heroes and Writers

Who is your hero? A political figure? historical persona? music idol?

Don't we all have our heroes? Someone who has accomplished the things we'd like to do? Movie stars and rockers are accustomed to screaming fans who mob their idols in public, create websites to memorialize their genius, and write gushing letters of adoration. Sports icons, royalty, the 'rich and famous' all have their fandom. Consider the pictures, documentaries, books, movies, songs and memorabilia inspired by Princess Diana, for example.

Kids who love to play cricket, soccer, baseball, basketball know who the greats in their sport are and what they've done that's exceptional. People of all ages know the words to their pop idol's latest songs, and collect their albums and pictures. We want to get close to our idols - maybe it will rub off!

So who pushes your buttons? Whom we choose to exalt says as much about us as about our heroes. We want to be beautiful, rich, sexy, talented, young and popular. Then we'd be happy, then we'd have all we could desire, or so goes our not quite conscious reasoning.

When girls my age were screaming and fainting over the Beatles, I was left wondering what was wrong with them. Sure I liked the music, but why scream and jump up and down over it? It was the same with the rest of the social icons - I couldn't see what the fuss was all about.

Then something happened that moved me, pushed my buttons, pulled my levers, touched my secret wishes. I got a book signed by one of my favorite authors.

O.K., so now you're probably laughing your head off, and I can't blame you. What kind of a person is indifferent to the Beatles, and goes off like a rocket for - a mere writer?! Well, obviously, a bookworm of course. I'm not alone in my particular passion. Every week there are lines at bookstores around the country where people wait patiently for the chance to have an author sign a book for them. So authors as pop idols isn't an unusual phenomenon. The difference is that bookworms are usually quiet, mild-mannered people who would never dream of mobbing an author and snatching a souvenir. Lines of bookworms are quiet, orderly things, and not the screaming, jumping mobs that surround pop stars.

sigh. I never did march to anyone else's drum. My husband knows what to expect of me, and was mildly amused to see me jumping up and down when a I got a signed early copy of a book last month. Most people would have been alarmed, convinced I was losing my mind. That behavior is reserved for the Beatles, you see, and just not the thing to do over a book.

So there you have it - my heroes are the writers who create stories that I love to read. Karen Traviss, S. L. Viehl, Nancy Kress, Robin Hobb, Holly Lisle, Anne McAffrey, Elizabeth Moon, Tanith Lee, Linnea Sinclair, Lisa Kleypas, Mary Balogh, Mary Jo Putney, Liz Carlyle, Nicole Jordan, Loretta Chase - these are women who write fantastic Science Fiction, Fantasy or Romance. They are my heroes, because they create magic with words, they create worlds with their books, and because a part of me would love to do what they do.

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