Do you ever read a book and feel the author is your friend?
This can be especially true if the book includes self-disclosure, as in a memoir styled account. After reading this type of book, I wish I could sit down and talk with the work’s creator: asking questions, sharing observations, and nurturing the budding relationship that germinated as a result of his or her words.
If I happen to see the author in public, I flash my best smile and wave enthusiastically. I have an impulse to run up and say “hi,” offer a handshake, or even give a hug. To me, I am reconnecting with a valued friend; to them, a stranger is accosting them—or a stalker, attacking.
The problem is our relationship is one-sided. I know the author, but he or she doesn’t know a thing about me—or that I even exist.
This also happens with public speaking. Audience members connect with the speaker, forming an emotional connection, but that is again one way.
While I am usually on the admiring side of these situations, in a few instances I have been on the admired side. It’s disconcerting, and I’m often taken aback. Since it happens infrequently, I’m still learning how to best respond, but I want to respond well. My fans are precious, and I want to respect and honor them. And who knows, a two-way friendship may emerge.