Thursday, January 30, 2014

Celebrity Letter Writing, as Therapy. By Lauren Harrington

There have been a lot of news stories over the years regarding hate mail celebrities get for small things (like getting married to your long-time girlfriend), and there have been stories about obsessive/stalker fans writing overly detailed letters to their would-be lovers. After hearing about the hate mail Martin Freeman has received following his character’s marriage in the most recent Sherlock series, I hung my head in shame for all of the immature children who send such letters. I think back to a book I read in elementary school, where the main character writes letters (but does not send them) to his favorite author, as a way of therapy and easing the process of writing a diary. Even his letters were tame, and talked of his life more than the would-be recipient’s. Letters to celebrities should be as such, if containing anything more than simple appreciation for the work the person has done. If you would be ashamed to show the letter to your grandmother, then you should reconsider mailing the letter. I have decided to write a letter as an example for all to see, edited for legal reasons involving a case I am currently dealing with. I wrote it honestly, and this is something I would actually send to the actor, were not the postage so expensive for international mail. The letter is as follows:

Mr. Cumberbatch,

I’m quite a fan of your acting, as you may figure from the fact that I’m sending you a letter. You are a very talented and versatile actor, and I quite appreciate the work you put into each role. You likely hear that often, and it’s true. I must say, your reaction to Harrison Ford's compliment on your work was quite adorable.

I admit I quite fancy you, though I was quite disheartened when I learned you’re a fair amount older than I. My favorite nickname for your fans (so far) is Ben-Addicts. But I’m not sending you this letter to babble on about that. I’m sending you this to tell you of my dreams, as I’ve heard writing a letter to one’s favorite celebrities can be therapeutic.

My dream is to make music videos that tell stories that strike deep in the heart, be it with laughter or sorrow, for popular bands and composers. I write and direct them, and am going to college for this in San Francisco. I have had this dream since I was twelve years old—roughly ten years. Nothing feels better to me than being on a set for one of my videos, with the close second being editing them. Unfortunately, there have been a great deal of obstacles in my way, and I am afraid I will never reach my goal.

I was in a rather awful accident at the start of my second year in college. Its effects will be with me the rest of my life. I cannot go into detail about the effects, unfortunately, due to legal reasons, but they have been more harmful to me than I could ever imagine. Even knowing this, however, it becomes harder each day to continue going on. I often ask myself how it is I made it this far, and am always puzzled when I realize it’s because I feel the need to keep people thinking I’m doing well.

The repercussions of my accident have not been my only obstacles. I have had much difficulty completing any projects. One project I worked on, which was not mine, was so marred by its director that the artist required it never be released to the public. The first project of my own was dropped near its completion due to my producer failing to communicate to me that he could not find the final locations, and the band eventually decided to devote its time to working on a Kickstarter project for their next album. I have more projects I am hoping to work on, but I’m not sure I will be able to complete them before the bands grow tired of waiting. Scheduling has been difficult for me, as my time during school breaks has been spent with family and doctors in my hometown (not far from Los Angeles, in the area I’m from), with little time left for much else.

Beyond all this, though, I still work towards my goal, scraping by on the high I get from working on my projects. A great help for me was reading about your parents, and how they worked hard as actors, and raised a son who went on to become world-renowned. Your parents kept doing what they loved, and passed the love they have for their work on to you. It is my hope that, if I do not succeed in achieving my dreams, any child I might have would go on to be great in whatever field of work they choose.

I often preach to those around me that they are capable of changing the world, that they already have in some way—no matter how small. Although I do not feel the same is true of myself, I still dream and wish and hope that I will someday make something that changes someone’s life in a positive way. I want nothing more than to do well enough to ensure that the ones I love are taken care of, and I sincerely hope I will be able to do so by making the music videos I long to create. All the better if I get to work with actors as brilliant as yourself.

I’d like to send you something as a token of my gratitude to you and your parents for inspiring me to continue working towards my dreams. I like to make things, be it by knitting, crocheting, beading, or woodworking. Someday, when I have enough money, I will. Perhaps something of each for you. For now, my thanks will have to suffice.

A gracious fan of yours,

Lauren Harrington

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