(Everyone will no doubt be back to talking about Tayswift on Monday when her appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show airs...but in the meantime we're going to take a breather and switch Gyllenhaals.)
When Stephen Gyllenhaal started blogging a year or so ago, I was dumbfounded.
I was further dumbfounded when he wound up being a fairly good blogger, "good" meaning he updated regularly, he responded to comments, and he wrote very emo entries about the meaning of life and corruption in the U.S. government. And let's not forget the YouTube videos of him reading poetry. If he'd been a generation younger, he would have been the textbook model for the ideal blogger.
As someone who actually is a lowly commoner with nothing but a computer, and as someone who has been coldly looked down upon for being a commoner with a computer by Stephen Gyllenhaal, I thought all of this was a little ironic. All his anger toward President Obama and no mention that his son has enough clout to finagle a private audience with him. All his rage toward the political establishment and no hint that he used to summer in Martha's Vineyard with his personal friends, the Clintons. All his working class words about creating something from nothing and having to earn it all the hard way and no admitting that he knows half of Hollywood, that he has an entire body of work behind him to stand on, that whether he likes it or not, his last name is a golden ticket and he's not fooling anyone by suggesting he's having as hard a time of it as some of the rest of us.
But I understood his anger. I have that same type of anger. And he brought up interesting points. He talked about things that I like to talk about. I used to leave him comments, which he always responded to...about healthcare and the Beatles and me losing my job earlier this year. I even e-mailed him once over an entry where he had a grand revelation about no one being better than anyone else. It was specifically in relation to us, his audience of fellow commoners, and it struck me as so thoughtful and yet so utterly un-self-aware that I was compelled to tell him privately how much I hoped he truly meant what he had written.
And then I found out that he communicates privately with several of his readers. People I know. He follows half of the people who read this blog on Twitter. I mean this in the nicest way possible, but a lot of you are crazier than I am, so all of this gave me this ridiculous and completely misplaced idea that maybe, after all this time, Stephen Gyllenhaal could like me. He liked my comments, he liked the people I wrote for, maybe he could like me. At the very least, maybe he could see me as a fellow human being and not just a caricatured hanger-on.
And I thought, 'I'll send him a copy of my book! Because maybe he'll read it, and maybe, at long last, I'll get to tell my side of the story as an equal...'
"Oh, Stephen!" my sycophantic e-mail read (not really, I'm dramatizing this). "I wrote a book and I want you to read it please tell me where to send it!"
He took his time getting back to me and didn't want to give me his address (I would like to state, for the record, that even Just Jared trusts me enough to give me his address) but an electronic copy would be fine...
So I was getting ready to leave for Kansas to go to my best friend's funeral, and I was on the phone with the publisher, explaining to them that I needed an electronic copy of my book because someone I wanted to give it to had specifically requested it, and like smack on the head, I suddenly thought, 'OH MY GOD WHY AM I DOING ALL OF THIS FOR STEPHEN GYLLENHAAL.' Stephen Gyllenhaal! Whose entire family has never been anything but dismissive toward me. Who was personally responsible for dashing my youthful hopes of success at the tender age of 24. Who has, for as long as I've known of him, been a dismal judge of character and yet I weirdly continue to look past that and take it personally when he ignores me...
He can buy his own damned copy of the book.
When I got home, I wrote him again to (nicely) say he could buy his own damned copy of the book. I signed it, "Thanks and good luck with everything..."
All he wrote back was, "Yes, and good luck with you too."
The fact that he wrote me back at all leads me to believe that on some level something really has changed between now and that fateful October night almost exactly four years ago. But I've changed too. And when I really thought about it, I couldn't come up with a good reason why I wanted him to "like" me anyway.
If he doesn't want to read the book (which I'd say he doesn't), that's most definitely his loss...but it's most definitely my loss if I'm wasting my time trying to "prove" to him that I'm on his level. There are some things you just have to let go of... And I need to let go of wanting his approval just because there was a time in my life when he didn't give it to me.
All of which is to say, that's probably the last time I'll ever write to Stephen Gyllenhaal.