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So I'm prowling around Summer Bowman's page, and I'm liking what I see. She's got some great artwork up, and of course, she's the beautiful voice behind The Machine in the Garden.

I'd like to email her and tell her how much I enjoyed her poetry and art, but I can't.

Something about the fact that she's well-known makes me hesitate.

It's not as though I'm a psycho, or stalker, or anything. But I'm not at all sure I can write to her and make her understand I'm not some wacko.

And it's not as though I'm a total stranger with no connection, although it's kind of tenuous: I've met her father once or twice. He's the lead pilot for the Red Baron Stearman Squadron. (In my day job, my company operates a 1948 Lockheed Constellation, based at the same southern Arizona airport that the Red Baron guys fly out of during their practice season.)

Several months ago, I got email from Guy Kay, the man who wrote the Fionavar Tapestry, the series of books after which I named my domain.

It was a nice email, only a few lines long, expressing appreciation for the nice things I said about him and his books, and even teasing me gently about things gothica.

In a glaring breach of etiquette, I never responded.

I couldn't.

I couldn't think of anything I could say that wouldn't make me sound like a rabid fan. My friend Dot keeps asking if I ever responded, and I invariably blush crimson and tell her no, not really knowing why.

I have a deep fear of coming off gushing, or sycophantic, or idiotic. I want to express my appreciation of what someone has given me via their work, but I can't. I, who has read the works of the masters of language, and who has no loose grasp of it herself, cannot draft a single, short email of thanks. How pathetic is that?

Even as I type this, I know I must email a veritable pillar of the gothic community, the creative genius behind a band my newly-birthed production company is bringing to the Valley. We've exchanged several emails and it always has, for me, a feeling of genuine unreality. It can't really be me, emailing him. My input is not being sought. This is not happening.

Part of the problem (no small part, in fact) is the fact that I am painfully shy[1]. I always have been. Also, there is the aforementioned fear of sounding like an idiot. I like to surround myself with creative, intelligent people, but .... and here's the bad part ... they have to approach me.

Yeah, I know. It's not the greatest way to meet people, and as a modus operandi for exchanging one's views, it downright sucks. But there you have it. Surround someone with the slightest aura of celebrity or unapproachableness, and I won't approach. I'll hover in a dim corner of cyberspace, never firing off the quick, appreciative, blithe email. My language fails me when it comes to casual, witty, lucid communications to anyone I hold in high regard.

So, to Mr. Kay and Ms. Bowman, and all the artists, writers, poets and others I've never written to:
I love your stuff. I'm not a psycho.

have you quailed before celebrity?

Read the interesting post-script to this essay.

[1] Until you get to know me. Then I have no compunction whatsoever about sharing my thoughts, likes, dislikes and opinions with you. At length. Sometimes loudly.

perfection ? . celebrity . perception