492 Words About Being Not Famous

492 Words About Being Not Famous 

A couple of years ago my husband came marching in the house and sat me down. “I need to talk to you!” he said. 

Geez! I thought. Seems serious!

“Are you famous?” He asked. 

 I laughed. 

“I’m serious!” he said. “Tell the truth!” 

“No!” I said “Defnitely not! At all.” 

“Well,” he said,  “In the meeting I just went to I introduced myself and said that my wife is named Traci Smith. Then someone pulled up a cover of your book on their phone and said “She’s famous!” 

“Look. I said. “You are married to me. You would know if I was famous. I would know too.”  


And that was the end of that. 

Last summer I was buzzing around someone I had been trying to meet with for awhile. I finally cornered them at a conference we were both attending and they looked at me quizzically and said “Oh yeah, didn’t you write a book or something?” (Yeah, something like that. See also: Not Famous!) Then, 45 minutes later I was in the pool with my kids and I overheard someone whisper-scream “I’m in the pool with Traci Smith” in a way that can only be described as flatteringly fan-girl ish. (And believe me I’m entirely too flattered every time this happens.)  The fact that these things happened at the same conference says it all. 

I ponder fame with some regularity because I had lots of thoughts about it during a mental breakdown that happened five years ago.  It was a terribly low time in my life and also (as these things go) one of the best things that ever happened to me. It’s a longer story, but to make it short: after severe insomnia, I had a psychotic break that led to hospitalization. I learned so so much from the hallucinations, and I sorted through almost every major question I had about life, the universe, my place in it, and more. It sounds dramatic because it was.  

One of the things I learned about fame is this: if you can get away with doing what you want to do without anyone knowing who you are at all consider it a gift. It’s not that it’s not fun when people recognize you — it is, at least for me — it’s that there’s a very steep dropoff where the fun turns into an invasion of privacy and messes with your head and costs you more than you can pay. 

So, if you see me (or any person you know) out “in the wild” feel free to fan-girl them a little (if you’re a fan!) They will love it and soak it in and likely be genuinely honored and shocked that you feel that way. And then, as quickly as you can, tell yourself this: this is a real person and there is definitely something about me that is as or more interesting than the things I find interesting about them. 

#WritersWrite and I write almost every day. I sometimes share my thoughts publicly in this series called “500 Words or Less” This practice allows me to explore a variety of different topics in a restrained/contained way and learn what resonates with people. I wrote it, not AI. If you share, please give proper credit. © Traci Smith, 2023. All Rights Reserved. 

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