Ages ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote a post about the pedestal we readers tend to put authors on and asked if people really wanted to know everything about an author they liked or if they preferred to to keep their distance. At the time I said
I have to admit that in many ways I LIKE keeping my head in the sand. I WANT an author I enjoy to remain up on that pedestal I put ‘em on.
Despite having encountered – both directly and indirectly – more and more authors via twitter and various blogs, I find my point of view hasn’t changed. If anything, social media has intensified my feelings.
While fandoms, authors behaving badly, wankfests, etc don’t necessarily happen on a day-to-day basis, the rapid sharing of information means the incidents that do occur become public knowledge very quickly and are widespread. Human nature tends to focus on the negative and there is no hiding when the instantness of platforms like twitter sees some responding reactively and without consideration. Lord help those who type before they think because there is always, always someone watching who is ready to hit the retweet button or take a screen shot.
I’m not about to enter into an academic discussion about social media, blah, blah, nor am I going to deny having been an avid spectator to certain events in the past. I will say, however, the line between private and public seems to be increasingly blurred and, while there are vast benefits to being part of virtual, global communities, there are also considerable costs.
This pertains to the bookmunity too where authors and readers can easily interact; becoming nodding acquaintances as well as close friends. Accessibility, though, can be a dangerous thing in such cases because the closer the relationship gets, the harder it will fall. And we’re not talking about a vague topple from that pedestal here. Instead, it’s a gory cartoon-like massive high-dive face-plant into a tarnished cheap-arse metal thimble of stagnated, toxic water. Yeah. Owie.
So, yes, as unfair as it is, I don’t want to know if my favourite authors are actually human.
I’d rather hide under the cotton covers of my four-poster bed, softly smiling in my sleep as I lovingly cradle my cherished book and dream of waif-like authors in billowing, gauzy summer dresses who leisurely take their tea on mismatched fading crockery in glorious, sun drenched gardens with gurgling fountains, plump roses and long-haired cats lying languidly on velvet pillows watching colourful birds and shimmering fairies flit across peaceful ponds beneath hooded eyes and lazily twitching tails that caress the naked feet of the beautiful knowing soul who lovingly creates worlds and crafts tales in well-worn handwritten journals just for you…
Hey, if I’m going to romanticise an author I might as well go all the way, right?