Why We Crave Fame by Katherine Grace Bond“Celebrity-in-Hiding.” When I first started writing THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS, I didn’t want to admit how much that idea intrigued me. I’m a lot like my main character, Brigitta—all about finding the meaning of life, not fantasizing over whether the guy next door is a movie star. When I bought a National Enquirer, I explained to the grocery store clerk that it was for research— that I was writing a book (“Yes,” I told her modestly, “I am an author.”) I certainly didn’t normally read that sort of thing. Of course not. Well, okay, maybe the headlines. Occasionally.
But as I read through stacks of People and Star and Us (which is a lot like eating sugar cubes all day long), and more stacks of celebrity biographies, I started to wonder what the deal is about fame. Why does it fascinate us? Why do we love the idea of either being famous or being connected to somebody famous?
I think it’s because we’ve got some interesting ideas about “being known.” If I’m “known,” people know who I am, right? Lots of people. Those people will say I’m talented and beautiful and they’ll treat me with special respect. If I’m known, I get to wear amazing clothes and ride in limousines. People will do what I want just because I’m known. If I only eat the green M&M’s, someone will pick those out of the five-pound bag and put them into a crystal dish for me. If I’m known, I am important—more important than that boss who fired me, or the teacher who gave me a C and said “You ought to be ashamed of yourself,” or the security guard who threw me out of a mall in Seattle for plugging my cellphone into a floor outlet (true story!)
But is that really what being known is? Getting special treatment and being better than somebody else? Who really knows me when I’m known like that? What I crave, what I really crave, is to have a few people who will look into my eyes and know me—know how I wrinkle my nose when I laugh, and what my favorite show is, and why I’m afraid of guns. It’s what we all want, I think—people who will listen to us when we’re scared, and scream with us on the roller coaster, and trust us with their hurts. We want to know we matter. We want to have a few people we don’t have to hide ourselves from.
So is Brigitta’s next-door-neighbor a secret superstar? We can talk about that later. I need to go to the grocery store and read some headlines.
About Katherine Grace Bond: