Allow me to share with you our gratitude.
There is the moment when we meet someone who is famous that is so hard to capture. For each person who is famous, is famous to each of us differently. We, each and every one of us, are affected in a different way by your art – your performance, your turn of phrase, your camera angle, your simple series of notes on a piano, your brush or pen stroke, your voice. We are the spectrum and you light the hearts of a piece of the whole audience.
But, back to that moment where we are standing here and you are sitting/standing there and we have all of this excitement and emotion and have no idea what to do with it. Because here is this person, who is just that, a fellow human being, someone who has hopes and desires and failings and pet peeves and favorite flavors of ice cream just like we do…but they are not like us, are they?
What is it?
What makes us fangirl or fanboy out when we see a particular actor or spend days sewing and dyeing and gluing together a costume in your character’s likeness or stand in line for hours at a convention we are throwing in your honor (side note, it is also thrown in our honor, we just tend to lose ourselves in it.) What makes us knit dolls of your character and paint and draw vivid artwork and create terrible/amusing you-tube videos? Why do we scream and shower you with such affection…it was just a movie wasn’t it? Only two hours, a speck of dust in our long timelines, right?
You did your job, and you did it well, but it is just a job- even if you have far too much fun doing it. You have lives and families and laundry to do and taxes to pay. (Well, most do, I’m looking at you Wesley Snipes.) There again, you are just as human as anyone else…but when we are standing there, about to shake your hand, it doesn’t feel that way. You seem something greater.
You made us FEEL.
Such a simple thing, we are so full of emotion all of the time. But you, You reached out to us - in darkened movie theaters, from the pages of a book (or comic book), through the radio while we drive to work, as we flip through the channels looking for…something. You grabbed us by the collar of our souls and said “sit right there, stop, listen, come on an adventure with me, learn something unexpected about yourself.”
You offered a hand and pulled us out of our ordinary lives, even if just for a few moments. You waltzed us through the fantastical, and magical, the inconceivable and the utterly believable – imagination made real through you. You made us laugh and cheer and dance because the joy we feel will not let us do anything less. You also made us cry and scream and rally and raise our fists to God asking “why did it have to be so?” (I’m looking at you, Whedon, you glorious bastard.) You’ve made us hurt at our core and love with all that we are worth as we journey with your characters, your songs and your art.
We’ve walked out of movie theaters feeling like we could take on the world or completely torn asunder and then we come back next week to try and feel it all again. We return to dance with you just one more time because what you’ve shown us gives us a little piece of what heaven is to each and every one of us.
And so we stand here, looking at you only a few feet away and at our very core we want to say – Thank You.
Thank you for making us feel. Thank you for giving us moments of clarity and joy. You’ve changed our lives in infinitesimal and yet profound ways. You gave us hope or anger, you gave us peace or love, or even lust (that sly, twin sister of love.) You’ve inspired us to create in our own ways, be it costumes, or stories, or poetry, or movies or paintings or songs.
You stirred us to passion and we desperately want to repay you. We desperately want to say thank you in a way that is proportional to the gift you have given us. And as we stand there, awkwardly smiling…we realize that we can’t. We shake your hand and shyly say “thank you” and maybe mention our favorite part of your creative career and it doesn’t seem enough. We, at some level, realize that the vast majority of us have no hope of giving back to you what you have given us. We have no way of fully expressing to you how you’ve affected our lives.
So I write this letter to you so that you might understand. So that in the 30 seconds we meet you can look at us and know all that we want to tell you, all that we wish we could communicate in that brief moment of connection.
You made us feel. You inspired us to great art, to be better. You changed our lives. We will never forget you.