“You’ve been asked to ghostwrite an autobiography for someone famous; you get to spend two weeks with this person as they tell you stories and details of their life. Who do you hope that celebrity is?”
Oh, gosh, so many that I would love to spend time with and get to know are WRITERS themselves! (Liane Moriarty, Stephen King, Carl Reiner, many more.)
There are a number of famous people I would have liked to have met, but are no longer in this world, so I will not even go there.
I really am not often in awe of celebrities. I know that they are all people, generally people who are just plain lucky to be where they are. Granted, many have talents, but so do a multitude of others.
I have known great singers who were teachers, or even miners. I have known really talented actors who did Community Theater and shone, but their bread and butter were made in other ways, (like being a soldier or a mechanic, to be specific).
I have seen model-beautiful cashiers at quick-stops and those who are waitresses. I have known matinee-idol-handsome factory workers, Marines, and Sailors.
I’ve known brilliant people, experts in history and politics, mathematics and economics, who just never had the chance, (for whatever reasons), to be recognized by the government or businesses and have been able to rise to prominence in those fields.
I can guarantee that there are famous people in every position that every one of us can point to and say, “They PAY that person to sing or act?” “They consider THAT person attractive?” “What that person is saying doesn’t make any sense at all; what makes THEM an expert?”
I don’t admire most actors. Sure, I had crushes on some when younger, but there aren’t many that I find truly interesting anymore. All seem to be overpaid and most are under-intelligent, (and Angie already chose one of the most interesting on her Fox post this week.)
I am a respecter of people, not of ‘persons’.
I was truly hard pressed on this week’s topic. There are no religious leaders now that I would care to get to know. There are no political ones who interest me, save maybe Jimmy Carter, but he wrote his own bio quite well, (which I have discussed here). Around the world, well, I don’t see many outstanding characters. Too many today are also privileged and got there by family and riches. (Royal families? I could not possibly care less.)
So, Wednesday evening I broke down and looked over the list of the “Most Admired” people in the world and boy, did I get depressed! (Lady Gaga? GAG-a!) I went for a list of the OLDEST-living celebs. There are many actors whom I had no idea were still with us and many might be interesting, but for reasons above, I chose another type of ‘star’.
I will go with Michael Collins, Astronaut, even though I found after starting this that he had already penned an autobiography, (and other works), but let’s say that I may be able to get more from him!
Michael Collins was involved in all areas of NASA. He was picked to be in the third group of astronauts to start new programs. Later, he re-entered college, (Harvard business). He served under Nixon as an assistant in the State Department as a spokesman, a task he found too hard to bear and asked to leave. He became the director and the driving force behind the National Air and Space Museum. He not only pressed to get it built, he saw to it that it was done well. He directed an aerospace company for a number of years in Northern Virginia after retiring from active duty in the Air Force. He remained in the Reserves, where he reached the rank of major general.
What is truly fascinating about Michael Collins to me is that NASA chose him to be the pilot of the command module for Apollo 11, (the first Moon landing), because he had incredible mental/mathematical abilities. With the computer aboard the spacecraft smaller than the one in today’s average ‘smartphone’, NASA felt that they may have needed to rely on Collins’ ability to make quick calculations…and they did. He kept a cool head and made on-the-fly calculations that made the landing and retrieval of Armstrong and Aldrin a success. (How I love a man with brains!)
So close to the Moon, Collins never to step foot on it, yet he never had regrets. His only fear was that he might not be able to bring Neil and Buzz home, but he did.
I also have a loose connection with Collins: my father-in-law was the assistant to the officer in charge of the conning tower of the ship which recovered the Gemini 10 capsule after splashdown. I’ve told the story before; my husband, (at age 12), his two older brothers and other officers’ sons were on board as well. (It was the first and last time that was allowed.) I never asked Ed if he met Collins and John Young, but we have photos that he took of them from the tower and when they got cleaned-up and on deck.
If that isn’t enough, I would get to travel to Michael Collins’ home for the two weeks. He is settled in a place where he was born when his father, a military officer, was an attaché: ROME.
OK, so now Italy is locked-down over the coronavirus, but I could have gone before, or I could go after. I am more than willing!
Shall I pack?
I think Astronaut Collins is an excellent choice and I’ve greatly admired him (& the others who followed him in that same role — flew TO the moon but not able to be ON it). I see him in the light that I see those two guys who held up Moses’ arms during that battle. Yes, God used Moses to raise the staff and inspire the troops, but without the two guys holding up his arms, the battle would have been lost.
As for Collins having already written his own autobiography, I think a lot could be learned about a person’s life if a perceptive EXTERNAL writer studies him/her and describes that individual.
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Collins was often met with “Weren’t you jealous”, “So close, not to get on the Moon…”, etc. He never saw it that way.
I never thought about Moses’ assistants, Jeff, except while reading the story, and I can almost feel the pain of all of their arms. Heroes indeed.
Autobios are written by people who generally fall into two categories:Those who are too modest and don’t tell all that theydid/thought/ felt or those who simply blow their own horns.I think that a fresh perspective is often needed.
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Astronauts are a special breed. Their work is exciting, but there’s such a high degree of risk. I’m glad you found someone to feature. And while I’m not sure I’d want to be on lock-down there, Rome is definitely a fascinating place.
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Oh, Patty, I have no intention of finally getting to Italy and not be able to travel! I meant that if I could use Collins as an excuse.I’d go as soon as all of this is behind us. No,I have wanted to go there all of my life, (even though my grandmother’s village literally disappeared in the 1976 earthquake).