What Is Worth Being Famous For?
I always wanted to be famous.
I once imagined if Ellen DeGeneres just had the chance to meet me, we’d become best friends.
And that if Annie Leibovitz got a glimpse of my profile, she’d beg to photograph this nose.
And that if Jamie ever got my lamb shank recipe out of me, he’d invite me to be his special guest.
I once fantasized about my books being made into movies (it nearly happened – twice…) and the red carpets and designer gowns that would involve.
But blessedly, things changed.
Heath Ledger. Philip Seymour Hoffman. Robin Williams. Peaches Geldorf. Michael Jackson. Whitney Houston. Others too.
Fame has its shadows. Public suffering is a wretched invasion of the soul’s privacy.
I also got older.
It struck me that fame is maybe fun for two days a month. After your period. On good hair days.
And that having paparazzi trailing you and people pestering you for your autograph is an ongoing harassment that must disturb your peace, never mind your breakfast.
Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?
The itinerant vanity that occasionally visits the unfamous to remain presentable, attractive and interesting, in the famous must so easily become an inured Botox obsession, plastic surgery habit, eating disorder or addiction (though we unfamous seem to manage to lead celebrity lives in just these ways).
Now fame seems as childish as my girlish longings for Mark Hamill (strictly from the first Star Wars) or to grow a pair of wings. Maybe I’ve just had my Lucy Jordan moment and I’m ready to be a real grown up.
I had my bestseller. The Germans bought over half a million copies of my least impressive book, Secret Mothers’ Business. Most of my best work has slipped by, unnoticed by the world, but deeply loved by me. My book Things Without A Name – a rare gift life gave me to write it.
Now I want other things from life – to lift up other writers and help them get their work into the world. I want, in the poet Naomi Shihab Nye’s words ‘to be famous in the way a pulley is famous, or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular, but because it never forgot what it could do.’
I never want to forget that I can teach others how to write. I can inspire people to tell their stories. I can show them, ‘this is how I did it, and so can you.’
That feels real. It feels meaningful. It feels more than enough.
If you have a book in you, or a story you’ve been wanting to share, I am waiting to meet you.