"Every artist was first an amateur."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
My current favourite Internet story about the late, great Paul Newman has me thinking about being star-struck. Frankly, I've never minded being star-struck, and under similar circumstances I probably would have put the ice cream in my purse, too.
The OED gives the following definition for the affliction I quite enjoy and have only experienced a handful of times in my life:
"Star-struck: adj. fascinated or greatly impressed by stars in entertainment or stardom."
But for me there is a lot more to it than simply being impressed or fascinated. There is the unexpected rush of adrenaline, a sudden awareness of being in the presence of greatness that fills me from top to bottom.
In my other life as a musician, I have experienced this sensation on a few occasions, most recently last spring when David Foster blew into town and needed a backup orchestra for his Crescendo fundraiser. The lineup of stars flown in from around the globe was incredible, and during the rehearsal we enjoyed working with numerous big-name musicians, ranging from pop to opera to hip-hop. But when Natalie Cole graced the stage, wearing spray-on jeans tucked into stratospheric boots, a fluffy white sweater and enormous sunglasses, she exuded a rare fabulousness that reached all the way to where I sat in the back. I have long been an admirer of Natalie, and a devoted fan of her father, Nat "King" Cole, and so I was completely overcome. My mouth opened itself and the words flew out of their own accord:
"Okay, now I am COMPLETELY star-struck," I declared in a voice amplified by adrenaline, to the amusement of my colleagues, many of whom, I suspect, were also on the verge. I can't remember a note I played for Natalie, only that I basked in the glow of her star power.
Just don't get me started about Lionel Ritchie's performance that night, other than to say that when he surged onstage in a cloud of charisma, a friend and I turned our suddenly flushed faces to each other and gasped for breath. We were completely, utterly star-struck.
And really, really don't get me started about the time I shared a flight to Toronto with the Canadian author Alistair MacLeod, and quivered with the above affliction for two solid hours. More about that later, but I can assure you, Dear Reader, that had an ice cream cone been anywhere near within reach, it would have wound up in my purse.
1 week ago