Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Jealousy in a Skimpy Black Dress

As a creative type, I hate to admit this, but I get jealous. Not in a bad way, though. More in a spur-me-to-do-better way.

I just finished reading Susan Jane Gilman's Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress: Tales of Growing Up Groovy and Clueless. The book hilariously details Gilman's years growing up in New York City and her years beyond. She seems to have been quite the outgoing, but self-depricating child/teenager/young adult. I can't count the number of friends she discusses during her wild escapades. The chapters that really struck a chord with me were "Mick Jagger Wants Me" and "Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress." The former details her near chance encounter with Mick Jagger as she and a friend stand outside a recording studio waiting for him to appear. First Keith Richards appears. After they exchange greetings, Susan panics. She doesn't want to meet Mick this way, as a groupie outside a studio door. She had always imagined being introduced to him. She flees. Later, she gets the surprise of her life at a dinner party. Mick Jagger shows up and she is introduced to him. You'll have to read the book to find out what happens.

I can fully understand that notion of wanting to be introduced to a celebrity, as though one is a normal person and not some moony-eyed slavering devotee. There are very few celebrities I have a hankering to meet. The celebrities that really get my attention are those with incredible talent and artistry. Their writing or art or music or whatever, has to strike a chord with me. (Isn't that the way we all feel?) I hate that larger industries and the media place these people so out of reach from the rest of us. Author Michael Joseph Gross has written a wonderful book on the interrelationship between fans and stars. It's called Starstruck.

As an aside that fits this post, I had a dream last night in which my family and I hooked up with the neighbors and headed to a local park, where I was thrilled to see Dave Matthews performing (I think he was doing a solo gig, because I didn't see the rest of Dave Matthews Band). The audience wasn't very big - which is not the usual scenario at a Dave Matthews concert. Dave left the stage and headed to a spot in the grass nearby. I and several other people walked over to meet him. He appeared lost in another world. I came around behind him and gently touched his arm to get his attention. It was sweaty because he'd just been performing. Thing is, the feeling was so real for a dream that I woke with the sensation still in my fingertips. I saw that he was on a cellphone and I walked away. Meeting him simply wasn't worth bothering him.

Freudians, you may start analyzing now. I think I was considering/recognizing the humanness of a celebrity who seems to be more than human. In any case, Susan's Mick story hit home.

As for her Hypocrite chapter, man, I laughed and cried as she described her adventures in buying a wedding gown. And I cheered her on as she found one that fit so beautifully that she felt like a princess. Everyone should have a personal tailor or fitting expert.
Here's where the jealousy part comes in. Susan has such a fine grasp of language that knock-out descriptions pop up all over the place. For example, this one from page 93: "She used the tone adults use when they haven't the faintest idea how to relate to children - the vocal equivalent of aspartame." Can't you just feel the rotten taste on your tongue? Oooh! Green envy! I wish I could write so well. But, I have to remember, this isn't a competition between me and other writers. It's a competition between me and myself, with other writers serving as prods to my improvement.

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