Friday, September 11, 2009

Fan Shui

I'm pleased to welcome our guest for today: Camille Minichino, aka Margaret Grace, prolific author, career scientist, and unrepentant New York lover. When I was taking my first unsteady steps as a fledgling author, Camille welcomed me with open arms, a big smile, and a confident "of course you can do it". She has helped more authors along their professional --and, I'm sure, personal-- paths than she knows. Oh, and she's also an engaging, witty, fabulous author!

Camille Minichino, aka Margaret Grace:

It's such a treat to visit Pensfatales, which I've had bookmarked since its opening day.

Here's what I think of as the ultimate fangirl photo:Supposedly, the breeze was made by a passing subway train. What are the odds? I've always thought that a fan put a fan under that grate just to fan prurient flames.

I'm a big fangirl myself, with an object of my devotion in each of many categories: books, movies, television, science, hobbies, politics. I won't get specific here lest we go off topic and argue about my choices. (It happens at breakfast every morning.)

Surely my most obsessive fan days were when I almost followed the Boston Braves to Milwaukee. Lou Perini (the bad guy) moved his baseball franchise when I was junior in high school. All my meaningful life to that point had been given over to the Braves, the perfect friends for a shy girl. I never missed a game on the radio and my room, in typical teen style, was plastered with photos of the players. "Like a boy's room," my mother called it.

Fandom is usually accompanied by superstitions and promises—I gave the Braves a lot power over my life: If the Braves beat the Brooklyn Dodgers tonight, I'll never swear again; if Earl Torgeson hits it out of the park, someone will ask me to the dance; if Eddie Mathews is safe at second, then I'll be safe at home and in this world. I had no plan for If the Braves leave Boston ...

One time I signed a card to a boy I had a secret crush on, Merry Christmas from Lou Perini and the Boston Braves, as if my own name had too little weight to hold ink. Other girls were pretty and confident. They had the right to say "hi" without apology. I could only say, "Did you see that third inning catch last night?" or "I'll take Spahn and Sain over Mel Parnell any day."

I was devastated when the Braves abandoned me. I applied to the University of Wisconsin so I could be with them! (Is that a fangirl, or what?) Once I realized the Boston subway didn't go that far, however, I had to reconsider.

It took a while for me to absorb the fact that baseball was a business, not a sport played for the pleasure of its fans. It was a rude but necessary awakening, one I would need for every undertaking (and they are legion) in my life.

Ouch. It's a tough lesson, but all fans have to learn it.

One exciting thing my fandom got me was my very first published piece: a letter printed in the Boston Globe. In it I begged Tom Yawkey (the other bad guy), owner of the Boston Red Sox, to share Fenway Park so the Braves could make it financially. I pleaded with the fans of Boston not to be taken in by the Sox leftfielder who treated his followers with crowd-pleasing, obscene gestures every game. It didn't work, but maybe seeing my name in print in a major newspaper was what started me down this blog path!

Fandom can go very wrong and I should be grateful that I got out of it when I did, whether I liked it or not. Remember Robert De Niro, the out-of-work knife salesman in "The Fan"? I keep this still from the movie nearby:

-- along with a line De Niro spoke: "Excited and anxious I await my dream / To escape, applaud, and embrace my team."

Creepy, huh?

Camille Minichino, aka Margaret Grace, has eleven published mysteries. The latest, "Mourning in Miniature," will be out October 6 from Berkley Prime Crime. Available now for pre-order! Visit her at


Anonymous said...

Terrific Blog and not so creepy. What IS creepy: though I know it is all true, I am still excited and anxious awaiting the playoffs of my tean, though that lineup changes as we speak. xoxoxox said...

Do you carry a knife, anonymous??

Unknown said...

Want to hear something really scary? I read that the first stalking-murder of a celebrity was a *woman* who killed a player in a stadium decades ago. But the internet has filled up since I read that, can't find the reference!

At least you are a fan of something that actually exists! I'm a Tigger fan, which leaves me at the mercy of Disney Corp. :)

Here's hoping we stay on the other side of the street from Travis Bickle, Gil Renard, or any of those guys. Fan yes, obsessed, well, too lazy for that!

Sophie Littlefield said...

Oh wow, I can't believe I didn't think of The Fan - loved that movie!!! Camille, you never cease to amaze me with your many many facets - you're like a crystal suncatcher you have so many. wouldn't have guessed the baseball one. can't wait to see what you surprise me with next! said...

You have to remember that I'm *old* -- lots of time to develop facets!

Unknown said...

So nice to meet you online (been hearing about you for awhile) :) Thanks for visiting the Pens! said...

Same here, Lisa. "See you" on Tuesday in blogland.

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