I realized something recently. Well, said it out loud for the first time, anyway.I'm sure I've known it for quite a while, actually. Being a journalist demands a certain degree of inherent narcissism. (Maybe she's born with it!) I love attention.
Even negative attention doesn't bother me much, for the most part. I was a bit shaken after my first (possibly last), ill-fated attempt at fiction during my freshman year of high school was poorly received and vilified by anonymous "critics", who were really just two mean preteens with an inexplicable vendetta. But daily journaling after I graduated from high school — which, even in its infancy, led to a falling out with my roommate and my entire residence-hall floor turning against me — helped soften each blow. What the naysayers [nay]said mattered less and less to me. By the time I was a junior in college and writing for the student-run campus paper, I somehow felt comfortable enough sharing the details of my life that I volunteered to write a person essay entitled "Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?" Which ran in the weekly magazine. Which was read by thousands of students. Who would all ultimately have a strong opinion about what I'd written. A few of whom would even call the paper's anonymous "free for all" line for a 30-second opportunity to sound off on what a whore I was. (Not knowing, of course, that I was still a virgin and would be for at least another few years.) Comedy. With the exception of the day the ex-boyfriend I'd written about got wind of the story, which mentioned his name — I've learned since then, mostly — I was dazzled by my minor brush with notoriety. And it hasn't stopped. The look of shock on people's faces when I told them I, the whitest of suburban white girls, was working for a black men's magazine of the illest proportions? The day I was written up in a New York Times blog just because I had an overly appropriate name for my line of work? One of the best days I've ever had. And I'm not exaggerating. To have my name pop up before a CSI: New York character of the same name when I Google myself? Yes. Please.
I've got a nice singing voice. I opened a choir concert in Venice's St. Mark's Cathedral when I was a senior in high school. The experience has stuck with me; I get chills when I think about filling that space with my voice and And singing will always be something I love to do. But singing has never been…a big deal. There has always been someone better than me, since third grade. Her name is Becky. She's going to be huge. Just wait. Writing about my life's happenings, narcissistic a pursuit as it may be, and knowing other people are reading, gives me a high that bringing notes to life from a piece of sheet music never has.
Until I got fed up with the old journal — and a. certain. reader. — and left it behind, I woke up every morning secretly hoping the right person would stumble on it and demand that I write a book to be published by their house. Even if I sold (gave away. comped. paid someone to read.) just five copies, there are few things I wouldn't do to someday find myself sitting at a folding table in a cozy independent bookstore, signing books with my name emblazoned on the cover. To be a role model (or a cautionary tale, eck) for girls who were drawn to pick up the story of my life from a shelf, all bound up with a shiny cover and a clever title. It'd never be about the money; I'm sure there wouldn't be much.
Dammit, I just want to be famous.
There, I said it.