a funny thought

So I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s journal, and he mentions that he’s friends with Jane Yolen, and I think oh my god, he’s friends with JANE YOLEN. Which is more or less the reaction I get any time I see/hear somebody mentioning their friendship with someone I consider to be a Big Name. (It still takes a while to sink in that Big Names are ordinary people, too.)

Sometimes we dream of striking up a friendship — a real, honest-to-god, going to their place for dinner kind of friendship — with the luminaries of our fields. But out of nowhere, my brain pointed out to me that what’s really boggling is, thirty years from now, we will have those friendships . . . because some of the people who are real, honest-to-god, going to their place for dinner kinds of friends of ours right now will have become the Big Names of the field.

And for some reason that really made my head spin around for a moment.

Which is to say, all y’all newbies and neopros I call friends these days? I’m TOTALLY name-dropping you once you’re famous.

0 Responses to “a funny thought”

  1. xmurphyjacobsx

    Just keep up the connections. I have a Famous Friend now whom I knew in highschool and college, but after adulthood set in, our connection broke and now he is Very Famous and I’m not certain he remembers me, and it’s embarrassing to mention that I Knew Him When — and have black mail photos…

    • Marie Brennan

      My feeling on a situation like that is that I would strike up a friendship again if it seemed appropriate — but in his shoes, I would hate people trying to renew the connection just so they can say we’re friends.

      • xmurphyjacobsx

        That’s it, exactly. I’ve made an overture once or twice over the years, but never chased it down for that reason — who wants to be chased, and who wants to chase?

        Maybe one day I will be a little more famous 🙂 and then it will be “Hey, you were cool when I knew you — are you cool now?” instead of slavering fan girl stuff (or even appearing like slavering fan girl stuff).

  2. mrissa

    One of my college friends chastises me because he says I’m not nearly good enough at name-dropping, and that instead of, “Oh, my friend Steve tells a story about…”, I should start that anecdote with, “New York Times best-selling author Steven Brust, who happens to be a personal friend of mine, tells a story about….” Sigh.

    A couple of my friends ran up to Jane Yolen at a con about a year ago with an evil plot quite deliberately in mind. “Omigod omigod omiGOD!” they shrieked. “Aren’t you…Adam Stemple’s mom?” Jane, being Jane, found it hilarious.

  3. anghara

    …and there are probably people name-dropping YOU already, Ms Brennan… [grin]

  4. sora_blue

    We have to wait to name-drop? Awww. 🙁

    • Marie Brennan

      <lol> That’s a whole separate funny thought — the weirdness of noticing other people name-dropping me or my friends. ‘Cause I have no trouble remembering that we’re ordinary people.

  5. delkytlar

    Just yesterday, my daughter’s summer program started reading one of Jane’s books. When I was picking her up from the program, they mentioned it. The teacher (who knows I’m a publisher and sf writer) was gushing about Jane’s books, but was concerned that I might be offended by some of the language in this particular book. I said, “I don’t think I’ll have a problem. If I do, I won’t bother you about it. I’ll call Jane.” Her jaw dropped, and she said, “I love my job, but please trade places with me.”

    And you are so right about the future. Can’t wait to drop your name and others when necessary.

    • Marie Brennan

      It’s entirely possible I know one or more future SFWA Grandmasters (or insert other status symbol of your choice here).

      Dude. That’s weird.

      • querldox

        Consider where you went to school. It’s entirely possible you know one or more future (insert non-SF/Fantasy status symbol of your choice here).

        • Marie Brennan

          Nah — I didn’t hang out with those types. <g>

          (Though the types I did hang out with may go on to become famous in fields other than politics, business, and law.)

  6. querldox

    You do realize there’s some folk out there by this point who’d go “OMG, you know Marie Brennan!”, right?

    And, for what it’s worth, Neil once told me that he thinks probably the biggest benefit of hitting it big is that he gets to meet and extensively interact with a lot of interesting cool people.

    • anghara

      nice bit of namedropping there in the last sentence… : )

    • Marie Brennan

      Neil once told me

      Smoothly done. 😉

      I think SF/F is crammed to the walls with interesting cool people — judging by the dinner conversations I have at World Fantasy, frex. Not all of them are famous; some of them will never be. But the famous ones tend to be busy, so there is indeed an advantage to being at some exclusive launch party, or collaborating with them on a project, or taken out to dinner by a common acquaintance.

      • querldox

        This is true all around. But Neil was also referring to meeting and working with people outside of the usual sf/fantasy/comics fields.

        And you are also right about the “tend to be busy”. Namedropping again : -), I’m both aware and had it confirmed by Neil that having met him early on before he really hit it big has me at (not quite sure if this is the right phrasing, but it’s the best I can come up with) a more significant level than if I’d not met him until after he’d hit it big and gotten busier, met a lot more people, etc. And I’m not claiming to be BFF or anywhere near that level.

    • delkytlar

      You know Neil Diamond!? That is so cool! My mom will be so jealous!


      • querldox

        Nah, if I were bragging about knowing a Neil, it’d be Neil Armstrong. And musically, Neil Young.

        (Not that I do know either)

  7. raisinfish

    It was very strange for me when my friend Brandon got the Wheel of Time deal, for the reasons you bring up here. Boggling is a good word for it. Because to me, he’s just my kind of goofy friend Brandon. And to the WoT fans…I can’t even really conceptualize it. Now when I talk about Brandon, I feel like I’m being a name dropper, except to me…it’s just a friendship, like any other. Very, very odd.

    • Marie Brennan

      I can imagine! Given the level of fanaticism WoT fans can bring to the table, it’s . . . like being friends with a guy named Peter, and then one day he tells you he’s been hand-picked to carry on the work of that Messiah they killed the other day.

      (No, I don’t idolize Jordan on par with Christ. But there are people who do.)

      The thing you should really be leery of is that people will start pestering you for info on when Brandon’s going to finish the book. <g>

    • querldox

      Eh, who cares about Wheel of Time? It’s more interesting, to me anyway, that your friend Brandon was college roommates with Ken Jennings.

  8. silme

    At Worldcon in Glasgow about what — three years ago? — Jane Yolen was signing autographs (I was in the queue 🙂 when Anne McCaffrey rode by on her mobility scooter. Yolen leapt up from her seat to run to McCaffrey and give her a big hug. Two big names — two ordinary friends. 🙂

  9. will_couvillier

    Sorta adds a surrealist shift to relationship-perspective, doesn’t it?

    Cool post – it totally brings to mind the fan-awe in me.

  10. diatryma

    I am thrilled to be in my critique group because at least three of the people in it are awesome. And I know them. And I know you, and I know Eliza with the most random How I Got Published story ever, and I am slowly glomming on to other people via friendships (Questionable Content described friendship as a communicable disease– you get a friend, and then you get their friends…) and eventually all these people I know on the internet will be people I see at cons and people whose books I read and shove at friends.
    I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that my advisor is approximately God to many people. He’s Jerry. He hugs and smiles and is wonderfully supportive, and seldom there… because he’s in China or Greece or testifying to Congress.

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