Confession: I went through a celebrity obsession when I was about about 14. (Yes, I know that anyone who has recently heard me talk about Tina Fey is thinking to themselves, what? You think this celeb obsession was contained to your early teen years?) My main obsession was Meg Ryan--this was at her You've Got Mail prime. Not only can I quote all of You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and Joe Vs. the Volcano, but I also picked up trivia about Meg Ryan that has stuck: full name is Margaret Mary Emily Ann Hyra (Ryan is her mom's maiden name, I believe), married on Valentine's day to Dennis Quaid in '91 (they met on the set of Innerspace, now divorced), has a son named Jack Henry who is probably close to 20 now, was voted most beautiful in high school, and each November 19 I think to myself, "happy birthday, Meg." (This may seem like a weak list compared to the massive amounts on wiki or IMDB, but quite frankly it would be pathetic if I could remember more.) I even remember staring out the window of the family Astro van as we drove to the Oregon Coast on a family vacation, thinking about how great it would be when her 30-something, NYC celeb life fortuitously crossed paths with my middle school, Vancouver, WA life. She asks me to be her babysitter. And I travel with her family all over the world. Our friendship is sealed. So over-the-top cliche that it's endearing, right? RIGHT? Whatever, I was 14. And you've done it too. Just a little bit of "if we met in real life we could be friends." It's all in the same family.
I tried writing her a letter (pre-twitter days). I did some extensive online research and found a website that listed addresses to mail letters to famous people. And I went a little crazy. I of course wrote to Meg Ryan, but I also wrote to everyone that sounded remotely familiar. I wrote in Crayola marker (the fat kind so the page would fill faster), and I wrote the same thing to everyone: "Dear _____, I am your biggest fan! I loved you so much in _____ and _____. I know you're busy, but I would really love an autographed picture! Your biggest fan, Kristin." And because these letters were probably opened by PR robots rather than the actual celebs, I got a fair number of autographed pictures back (most fake, of course): the entire cast of Friends, Bill Gates, Bob Saget, Richard Gere, Rob Lowe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Richard Simmons, Martha Stewart, Bob Barker, the cast of Everwood, and Ani DiFranco (it was the 90s/early 00s?). But, the pride and joy of my responses was . . . no, not a letter from Meg Ryan inviting me to be best friends, but a personal letter from the band Nine Days. Yup, that band that sang "Absolutely (Story of a Girl)." You know, the girl who cried a river and drowned the whole world? They didn't have a picture to sign, but they drew a little "Nine Days" logo on a sheet of paper, and Jeremy wrote me a letter. A real, pen-to-paper letter that filled an entire sheet of notebook paper. He even gave me his email address in case "[I'd] like to know anything." Isn't that endearing?
But back to Meg. I never got a letter back. That jerk.
To help ease the sadness of this tragic ending: