I Am Afraid Of James Franco

I have told a lot of people the reasoning behind that statement and each reaction is met with confusion but with hidden facials of, “You’re a genius.”

When I like something, I engage in it fully. I obsess over it.

Yeah, obsess is the correct terminology in this case. It’s a case of short-term, sporadic, albeit enthusiastic love for the case in question. This has ranged from listening to an album on repeat week after week (i.e., Blind Pilot’s ‘We Are the Tide’, Local Native’s ‘Gorilla Manor’, or way back when with NSYNC’s ‘No Strings Attached’) to making every attempt to buy every single Kennedy biography I could find.

So when I strike up a short-term, sporadic, enthusiastic love of a person, feelings of affection are usually attributed to them, not fear. For example, Amy Poehler is my idol, George Harrison is my hero, Jimmy Fallon is my favorite person in the world and Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey are considered my kings of comedy.

But nothing comes close to the exception of a dark-haired, suave, sneakily devilish smile thrown onto James Franco, a man that makes me question human existence.

He is James Dean, Saul Silver, Allen Ginsberg, the Great and Powerful Oz and the great and powerful Daniel Desario. I am simultaneously captivated, confused, surprised and scared s**tless that James Franco will one day overload, have his breaking point and take over the entire world. The over-bored go overboard.

And I’m afraid of him.

I think the root of fear comes from something uncontrollable that stems from envy; fear is confusing. It’s irrational and fascinating. And in my case, fear is attached to ambition, because being up front with my ambitions scares me. Ambition has always been something that generated from pursuing what someone loves and it’s something I envy in other people.

Off the bat, he loves school. He went back to UCLA and convinced the advisers to allow him 62 credits each quarter, rather than 19, triple of what is required. He threw himself into literature and creative writing courses with reckless abandon. While enrolled, he was flying back and forth to San Francisco to film Milk; he graduated in two years with an English degree and a GPA of 3.5. His senior thesis was a novel. How he managed to do this, I will never f**king know. After graduation, he enrolled in NYU’s graduate film program. He enrolled in Columbia’s fiction writing program…and Brooklyn College’s fiction writing program….and a poetry graduate program in North Carolina. He pursued a Ph. D. in English at Yale. I am convinced he picked up something during Spiderman: some superhuman power that allows him to succeed in these all at once.

He sold invisible concept art for ten thousand dollars. He has talked about his grandmother and porn in the same context on Conan. He has fallen asleep at the control of an airplane. He thinks sleeping is a waste of time.

He is an academic, movie star, the face of Gucci, author, director, painter, writer, and pilot. He is slowly inching his way into every aspect of art, media and entertainment.

I am afraid of James Franco.

He scares me because he is yet another example of someone who is successful at what he or she is passionate about regardless of how long that list might be. I am afraid I will never reach that point. I am completely fine with struggling to get to do what I love, but not knowing exactly what that is yet is the worse feeling in the world. To see him as a sleep deprived, somewhat delirious superhuman/evil genius but still immersing himself in what he loves scares me. I don’t believe that I can devote as much effort as he does.

You can read more from Katherine Leon on her blog.

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