Then, one evening, we happened upon a famous singer who was just about to go on stage. She saw us coming around a corner and, mistaking us for autograph seekers, announced, "Look at my fans!"
I have never forgotten her and the exhilarating gratitude that she exuded. We knew who she was, of course, but we hadn't gone there to meet her. It was serendipitous, and we happily played along.
Ever since that chance meeting, I have pondered the concept of "the fan." The etymology of this word apparently begins in America in 1889, when it originally referred to baseball enthusiasts, or fanatics.
So, in my thinking, it's one thing to appreciate and support someone or something, and quite another to presume to say , "Look at my fans!" Am I wrong to consider the latter as rather presumptuous.
Now, I am very pleased whenever someone says that they like one of my poems, but aren't the reader and the writer participants in a remarkable, shared experience, especially when they connect well?
Accolades can feel pretty heady, but shouldn't they be a sign that one has stayed the course, that one is moving in the right direction, and no more? But, being human, it can be too easy to feed on approval.
I have been there, and I am well aware of just how vulnerable I am to this. To help me guard against being carried away by my egocentric side, I must keep in mind that you are gatekeepers to my craft.