The “Will You Press the Button?” meme has been floating around on a few social networking sites lately. I suppose it’s sort of like the “would you rather” game that we played in high school, when two disgusting or inane choices were given, and you had to pick one or the other (you couldn’t say “neither” or “both”).
Here, the decision is pretty simple. The first choice is to not press the button at all. The second choice is to press the button and become the most talented artist of all time but only posthumously.
I’d press the button.
Sometimes I think of the “deathbed scenario” where you’re supposed to imagine yourself on your deathbed or in a nursing home and think about what you would like to have accomplished in your lifetime and how you can start to accomplish those things today. If I knew with absolute certainty that some piece of “art” that I worked on was going to have such a legacy, I would die happy.
Fame while living is a burden I would not want to bear. Whenever I hear about a celebrity being hounded by paparazzi, I shudder. The idea of going out in public for something as ordinary as grocery shopping and having to worry about being blinded by cameras and pelted with questions is scary in the extreme. For an author, I don’t think the celebrity madness would be as bad as if I was an actress or singer. After all, the author stereotype is that of a recluse. It would be nice to be as well known as Stephen King and sign books until my hand fell off, but I’d rather go the Emily Dickinson route and be virtually unknown, then be remembered for lifetimes later.