I’ve been feeling a bit bored with myself, so I decided to make up a list of famous and semi-famous people that I’ve met, or at least been within 10 feet of. This makes me feel that I’ve had an interesting life.
1. I had a religion class with Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls. I was at Emory when she and Emily played on campus, so I got to see them lots of times
2. I used to encounter Ru-Paul on a fairly frequent basis, back in the 80s when he use to play at Gay nightclubs in Atlanta. I was at a party where he collapsed on the sofa, grabbed my friend’s hand and exclaimed: “My name means Indian soil!”
3. I was in a writing program with the infamous Dale Peck. If you don’t know who he is, check out Hatchet Jobs on Amazon. He’s a ruthless literary critic and quite a good writer. He also lived next door to me. He was very sweet, so I’m rather surprised at how vitriolic he is now.
4. I took a poetry workshop with Sharon Olds. She used the word “organic” a lot.
5. I took a course in something with Joyce Johnson, Jack Kerouac’s girlfriend.
6. I saw Woody Allen and Alan Alda filming Crimes and Misdemeanors on the Columbia University Quad. I somehow got mixed in with the extras, who gave me the evil eye until I figured out my error.
7. I interviewed writer Jeannette Winterson for some tiny magazine, when she was in New York promoting Sexing the Cherry. This was truly awful, because I had no journalism experience and was shy as a dormouse. I was roped into the interview because I was the only person the editor knew who had read her books (this was way back).
8. The short chubby singer from They Might Be Giants. I went to a party where he was the DJ.
9. Michael Nesmith of the Monkeys. Well, I spoke to him on the phone. I worked for a literary agent named John Brockman (his wife, actually, but his assistants didn’t last long, so I was always filling in) who was friends with him. Brockman was a great name-dropper. He had a photograph of himself with Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan, and somehow he had become friends with Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, Ellen Burstyn and Claire Bloom, who sometimes phoned, but I never got those calls.
10. Richard Dawkins, the irritating evolutionary biologist, was also a client.
11. As was Naomi Wolf
12. And Michael Drosnin who wrote that horrible book on the Bible code.
13. And David Gelernter, the Yale Computer Scientist who had his hand blown off by the Unibomber.
14. And Stephen Pinker and a bunch of other scientists and such.
15. I also had a chance to read a handwritten letter (in pencil, of course, since it was written from jail) from Aldrich Ames (anybody remember him?). He hoped Brockman would represent him, since a couple of Russian spies were clients.
And that’s pretty much it. I haven’t had any brushes with fame since then. What about you?