Writing to people whom you either don't know, have not heard from in years, have some professional interest in-- or other reasons, well it's a very mixed bag.
I have a pretty good track record of writing to famous people (once in a great while) and actually having them write back. I generally have some legit thing I want to say to them, I'm not just gushing or whatever. These are people too, and if they aren't too busy and you have a good point then they might just write you back. Most of the famous people whom I have written to are known in a particular field-- the latest one was a photographer. Some of these folks are now on Social Networking sites, and some of them are faking it, impersonators (I don't think I have been fooled yet). Others actually hire somebody to handle their correspondence in this way, much the way a lot of publishers are assigning ghost writers to pen books for the extremely well known (like Bill Clinton, for example.)
Hard for me to forget the day that I learned Julia Butterfly Hill never wrote "The Legacy of Luna." Know what though? Beautifully written book. Years after I read it I came across the Ghost writer advertising her services. I was crushed. She must have had an agreement to keep it to herself for a specific time period. Then, "bing!" one day the time was up and she's got bragging rights. I was crushed. I had seen Julia on her book tour, lovely person, truly. Not a great public speaker. The book was not published on recycled paper, that, I think was a mistake. And I do think that the Ghost writer, besides doing a wonderful job of writing, also succedded at being very very true to the theme of Julia's work. It made me want to meet Julia. I did. She was signing books.
I don't want to meet the photographer I've been writing to. His social networking is his undoing. He needs a ghost writer. He may need psychotherapy. He certainly needs an attitude adjustment. Quite the long rant lately about carry-on bags on the airlines. Long, angry rant. Some bragging about the old days when he flashed several twenties at the sky cap to bribe him to take ten big pro-photographer bags. A new post now, he wants to buy a workout suit which he will never work out in, but he expects to wear it to meet with clients. Perhaps he needs a pinky ring, a big smelly cigar too. I personally recommended the color lime green. Most people suggested he watch the Sopranos for tips, get a monogram, no serious answers. No matter what, the guy never says "Thank you." It's more like he's getting a kick out of posting whatever crap he wants and getting enough responses to satisfy. . . something. It can't be good for business. I now care a whole lot less just how great his photographs are, and they truly are great. I'd have been better off not knowing a lot of what I am starting to know.
My friend Francie, on the other hand, is doing all the cool things that a good hostess would do on her social networking site. Pretty much everybody loves her. She just got banned from making comments by admin. Why, nobody knows. I know she can type real fast and she participates a lot, that's why she's loved there. She'll get her rights back shortly. She's an awesome marketer who is not using the site for promoting her own business, is using it the way it was purportedly intended. Go figure.
I once wrote to a person who used to be on Sitcoms. She wrote back. Was way cool. There were things we had in common as it turned out, about spirituality. I promised not to go around blabbing about her, so I'm not. Would have liked to hear back again, and that's where I think the being famous part comes in. The celebs either get busy, or start to get worried about who they are really talking to, or wonder if what they say is going to end up in the press. Or maybe they just wake up the next day and find it strange. You know, they do get stalked, they do have security concerns, and their privacy gets violated sometimes.
Sheryl and I used to worry a lot more about keeping up a certain appearance, but now we find it more useful to be pretty open and honest about who we are and that just because we have a high priority on spiritual matters, does not mean that we live on a cloud and eat only moonbeams. If we do get famous it's going to be out of necessity. A content provider actually gets paid to advertise themselves, not the other way around. I don't think we'll ever get to the point where we lament the good old days when we used to throw twenties at the hired help to entice them to break rules and do favors for us. No, I doubt that.
I wrote to a folk artist once, Jennifer Kimball. She wrote back and was really nice. If it had been Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell, who knows. Too busy I expect and too many kooks writing all the time. It's a lot in the specifics. My old friends from school who are gradually and occasionally getting in touch are probably doing it because we are at "that age" nostalgic, remembering the past. My memory shocks me sometimes though. I know how one of these guys got their first job, and I barely knew him. I remember tone and inflection and sometimes exact words of conversations which happened 30 years ago and weren't about much in particular, just little stuff. Stranger still are how some turned out: jail time, unexpected careers and advanced degrees, alcohol and drug addiction. I think that I'm always surprised at the people who never left, stayed in the same old town we grew up in. I have not gone through the old yearbooks and tried to look people up, that would be overwhelming. It's also a bit of a strange thing anyway, to correspond with the person you sat next to in 7th grade, sometimes. . . but other times it's affirming to know that you saw something special in that person way back then, and you still do now. You were right about what you saw. There's a lot of bright light out there in the world, running around, texting and all that other stuff. "You're a shining star, no matter who you are, shining bright to see, what you can truly be."