Sunday, February 16, 2014
Star Struck at LTUE
The symposium this year was better than ever. With the exception of a few things said in panels, the information was helpful and inspiring. I’ve been attending LTUE for years and I must say it’s getting better.
With that said, I want to talk about something I’ve seen before, but never in a conference in Utah. Several years ago, in an effort to become a better writer, I attended my first writer’s conference. One of the things I loved about it, was the human qualities exhibited by the major talent. Those who’d made a name for themselves, were just the same as me.
I experienced a sense of community that made me feel like a family member. I made friends who are national market superstars today. I walk down the hall at a conference, and they call me by name and ask how my writing is going.
The bottom line is they are human. They are normal people with some of the same problems we have. Some time ago, one of the superstars, a science fiction author, was the keynote speaker at an LDStorymakers conference. I didn’t know who he was because I don’t write science fiction, but he’d just signed a book contract that would net several figures.
That author was treated like any other author. I felt comfortable being around him. He makes a lot more than that now, and he was at LTUE this year. To say, I was shocked by the way he was treated this year, would be an understatement. The behavior didn’t come from by those who usually attend, but the people I’ve never seen before. The superstars are just people, writers who feel sad when they can’t spend time with each attendee.
I never realized how bad the problem was, until I tried to leave a conference room at the end of a presentation. The next panel would have some of the superstars in it and there was a solid mass of people trying to get in while many of us were trying to get out. It was like trying to continually fill an elevator. Eventually, the cable will snap, and it will fall to the first floor.
I waited for a second, asking to be let out before they rushed into the room. Finally, I realized those crazed fans were fighting for a place inside. The blank stares said it all. Being a large man, I was able to push my way through the crowd. Like moving through a heard of cattle, They moved aside. I was able to get to the next panel.
Please know, that although, I am jealous of my friend’s contracts, I have no axe to grind. I am reminded of when a famous entertainer moved into my LDS ward. In my neighborhood, there are many famous and successful people. They are people who I admire and look up to. I want to grow up and be like many of them. I saw many of those successful people grovel and kiss up to the entertainer.
I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t. They eventually got over it, but just like the aspiring writers I saw at LTUE, they were star struck. I hope my superstar friends find the peace and quiet they deserve. Now, that the conference is over.
Good luck with your writing—see you next week.