"I've always thought there are two kinds of celebrities. There are people who really want to be celebrities. There are other people who want to be good at their craft. The ones who want to be famous are the ones who you hear about all the time. The ones who are studying and honing their craft have to do that out of the spotlight. You can't learn anything when you're out (in the spotlight) all the time."
Johnny Mathis (The Charlotte Observer, April 25, 2008)
Outside of the Old School Mix, I really didn't tell a lot of people about my recent television appearance. Make no mistake, I told those who didn't already know about the book (After The Dance) and shared with them all of the details about the two signings I had scheduled while in Memphis. But the TV and radio stuff, I left to others, like my proud hubby who called up just about everybody and their mama's (LOL).
Those who know me well understand that I'm fully content being in the background. I have no real desire to be in front of the somebody's camera or even behind somebody's mike (my dream of being a DJ fizzled a long time ago). I'm more than willing to step aside and leave the place on the stage marked as "the center of attention" to the more spotlight hungry.
Ain't it funny how those things you enjoy the least, often seem hell-bent on chasing you down? When I worked at the public library in Memphis, seemed like somebody was always sticking a camera in my face: on one occasion, I had to do an impromptu TV promo for the library's Magazines/Newspapers department and on another, I had to do a televised spot for an African American film festival I'd helped coordinate.
Shortly after my son learned that I was going to be on television, he struck up a loud chant of, "Mama's gonna be famous! Mama's gonna be famous!" Every couple of hours, he'd break into another round and finally I asked him, "Are you still gonna love Ole Moms even if she isn't famous?" Of course, being a good son, who loves regular meals, clean clothes and on-call chauffering, his answer was a resounding, "Yes!" (LOL)
I suppose, among other things, the point I'm trying to make is, I love writing and certainly, I love it all the more when folks find what I write entertaining and enjoybable. But I've never had a desire to be thought of as famous or a celebrity. I've never set as my goal "getting rich" from my work. Now, I would love to see some of my work on the big screen, but the satisfaction I would derive from doing so doesn't necessarily have a dollar sign or a certain number of zeroes attached to it. Sorry, if that disappoints, but I'm just simple like that (pun intended *smile*).
A lot of what I despise about today's arts scene (whether literary, theatrical, musical or otherwise) is the whole "15 minutes of fame" and "everybody's entitled or dang well oughta wanna be a star" notion. Bump that. Rather than doing some of everything (whether legal or illegal; moral or immoral; outrageous or just outright dumb) in order to draw attention to themselves, I really wish more folks (both artists and non-artists) would follow the advice shared in the quote above. Obviously, it's worked well for the 72-year-old crooner, known as Johnny Mathis. He's been in the game for fifty-two years and he's still going strong. Not only does he still perform, he can still draw a decent size crowd.
Think about some of today's more popular singers, writes, musicians, actors and the like. Who, among them, will still have a viable career, be in their right minds or even drawing a breath in the land of the living ten to fifteen years from now? Of course, nothing's promised and anyone of us could get hit by a bus tomorrow. Moreover, a lot of today's youngsters wouldn't know Johnny M. or likely be at all impressed by him, even if he turned up butt-naked on their favorite reality show, but I'm just saying . . .