Beggar at the Feast

So, to continue my current love affair with Les Miserables, I’m borrowing the title of a song for this blog post although the link is extremely tenuous. Towards the end, the villainous Thénardiers gatecrash the wedding of Marius and Cosette and enjoy the experience of being at a posh do.

Ain’t it a laugh? Ain’t it a treat?

Hobnobbing here among the elite?

…Here’s me breaking bread with the upper crust!

I love Twitter. One of the reasons I do is the way you can ‘meet’ so many different people, from all sorts of backgrounds. When I first joined (and still to an extent) one of the big things was to follow Stephen Fry. Throughout the day you could get to know little bits of how a real celebrity spent his day and how he felt about random topics; now, he has so many followers it’s highly unlikely you’d get a reply from him, but many celebrities are using Twitter and do interact. If you follow the lovely Maria Duffy, you can read her blog for Hello! magazine in which she interviews celebrities on that exact topic. Now, pay attention, as it’s my chance to drop a few names. I’ve had replies from Paula Abdul and Hugh Bonneville, Steve Balsamo (who plays Jesus on the most recent recording of Jesus Christ Superstar – now that was a jawdropper. How many people have had private messages from Jesus?!) and some literary celebs like Katie Fforde and Joanne Harris. Once I tweeted about a rejection that particularly stung, and got a lovely encouraging message from Katie Fforde. The next day we were in Waterstones and I spent about ten minutes showing my husband the shelf full of Katie’s books and repeating the tweet I’d received. A couple of days ago I was thrilled to be followed by Joanne Harris and have had a few exchanges with her, especially about Les Miserables. To be honest, this to me is like being the beggar at a feast full of A-list movie stars.

I’m also very happy to have frequent chats with Real Authors. When I say chats, I usually mean trading friendly insults. One of my favourite books is by Gillian Philip, and I love chatting to her, both on Twitter and facebook. You know what though? It’s good for me. Especially Twitter – I’m learning to communicate concisely and (hopefully) wittily with intelligent, witty people, some famous, some not. My confidence is developing by leaps and bounds as a result. Someone said to me the other day that I don’t come across as shy online – I think perhaps a year ago I would have done. I would never have had the confidence to suggest to Joanne Harris that I insult her (I mean, come on! The woman has written a book that’s a Johnny Depp film, for crying out loud) or argue with a Carnegie Medal-shortlisted author about the banking crisis or ask the author of one of my all-time favourite books how her new hamster is settling in. And I’m learning that Real Authors are, like, y’know, normal people with regular lives and highs and lows. And they don’t have two heads. Who knew?

I’ve blogged before about some of the amazingly good friends I’ve made on Twitter – you know who you are, Jane, Nettie, Ciara, et al. But this is an aspect of Twitter that has taken me totally by surprise and I love it. And maybe one day, some complete unknown will be blogging (or whatever, I’m sure technology will have moved on somewhat by then!) about how they’ve had a message from a Real Author, Rebecca Brown.