Dear Diary: I just got a letter today from the Johnson Girls, two of my most loyal fans, telling me that they bought tickets for every show of mine in London and will be doing the same for all my European performances as soon as they go on sale. I am, of course, flattered. I am also troubled. I guess it's always troubling to be faced with that kind of devotion. Like most performers, I can deal with intense adulation from the multitudes, but as soon as it comes from a focused source ...well, that's another matter altogether. Maybe that's why so many performer friends of mine refuse to have dealings with even their most ardent fans. They don't want them to become specific, particularized people. Well, sometimes they hire them (they make such loyal employees), but that's just another kind of distancing as far as I'm concerned, and I've never been able to do that.
Fans. It's so tempting to dismiss their behaviour as deviant or simply crazy. But when I'm actually faced with the humanity of it - the Johnson Girls, for example - there is something so essentially sweet about the whole thing, something so na´ve, that I find I can't dismiss it, or ignore it, or belittle it at all.
I embrace it. Just knowing that they'll be in London or Gothenburg or wherever already makes those places less strange to me, less frightening. And what is so wonderful about the Johnson Girls in particular is that they always travel with their mother. I suppose most mothers would discourage such a consuming (and expensive!) obsession with a performer. But not theirs.
Mrs. Johnson not only encourages it, she seems almost proud of it. For her, it is something that makes her daughters not odd, but special; not silly, but serious; not limited, but giving. I wish you could see the three of them standing backstage after a performance, looking like they just got off the train from Boise, Idaho. Which they did. They seem to have nothing in common with the circus around them or the people around them - least of all me. Yet there they stand in all their gingham glory. So unlike anything I think I stand for. Or anyone I would ever really know. Certainly unlike anyone you'd think would ever want to know me.
But in some strange way, they give - to me - meaning. I always feel more solid, more real when they're around. They make me think that maybe there is more to me than I know.
They say they love me, the Johnson Girls do, but I love - and need them ...more than they'll ever know.