Meeting your heroes, I have learned, can sometimes be a dangerous thing. I will not name names (unless you ask me in person and then I will name names) but sometimes your heroes, when you meet them in person, are big douches. And then you've lost a hero, which is a loss none of us can really afford, because we need these figures in our lives.

With literary heroes, personal encounters can be especially dangerous, because, if you find out the person is douchey, then you can't really ever love their books the same way. Which is why I am even careful about reading literary biographies sometimes, because I don't want to know some of this stuff! I just want to love the writing. And not have the illusion removed.

So I try not to go out of my way to meet my literary heroes, but today at the TED conference I could not help it, and I saw Billy Collins, former U.S. Poet Laureate, and I went to talk to him.

And he is lovely. So lovely. So perfectly lovely. And that means I get to keep him as a hero and I get to keep his books and poems, and I am happy.

And if you don't know who Billy Collins is, watch this video. He is a dear and beautiful soul:


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall