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Thursday, August 11, 2011

More magical moments in LA

You'd think the Henry Winkler moment was enough for one trip wouldn't you?  But no.  There was more!
First, I should mention that previous to the Henry Winkler "HW" moment, the Michigan SCBWI members were going to have lunch together.  However, we couldn't find our entire group so it ended up being just me, Jody, Ray, and Laura.  I give you my 100% personal seal of approval that these people are awesome.  Read their blogs, buy their books, wish you'd had lunch with them too.  They'll be part of the story again later.
Ok, so let's go back to autograph time during the HW moment.  Jody and I were so flustered after having met Henry that we walked right out of the room even though we had books for Norton Juster to sign as well.  Isn't that silly?  Luckily, we remembered and headed over to Norton, who only had a short line because he hadn't spoken at the conference yet.  I handed him my copy of The Dot and the Line, which I'd learned about from a mathematics graduate student at Oxford University years ago.  (that's another series of moments to explore at a later date) So I asked Norton if he was really good at math or what.  He chuckled and explained that he's not good at math but this was meant as a revenge story.  The dot represents a woman, the squiggle represents a disreputable guy Norton didn't like, and the line represents Norton.  (If you don't know what I'm talking about, you'll just have to read the book.  It's a lot of fun.)  So Norton wrote the book to get back at the squiggle guy.  The moral of the story being, sometimes revenge does pay.
So I had that little moment with Norton Juster but it was fun.
After that, it was time to head over to the SCBWI PAL (published and listed) member book sale, of which I was taking part!  I had dropped off my 300 Pajama Girl postcards that morning and had no idea how the event would be set up.  Last year, it was like a book sale table where you could buy the books and mingle with the authors if they were around.  This year, every author had their own table so it was like your very own author event.  I was thrilled!
Now, I know, I look far from thrilled in this picture.  Why is that?  A number of things.  I was tired, I was hungry and there were amazingly bright lights shining straight into my face.  None of those things made it a particularly comfortable experience but trust me, it was still thrilling.  My first author event! And, as you can see, people actually stopped by to talk to me and take a postcard, which is more than I could have hoped for.  I mostly expected to sit there by myself, feeling sheepish until the event was over but I probably talked to a good 30 people.  When you're a little ebook surrounded by ink and paper, 30 people is a big deal.  So that was definitely a great moment.

Ok, now we can move on to Saturday's first moment.  Imagine, if you will, another author signing event.  This time, David Small and Sarah Stewart are among the signers and I want my copy of The Library signed because it's a beautiful book and every book lover should own it.  David was first.  He signed the book and I told him how I was a librarian and that the very first library I ever worked at had a framed poster of the cover of this book and I thought it was so beautiful.  He seemed politely impressed and passed the book over to his wife, Sarah Stewart, to sign.  Here's where things get good.

Me:  I was just telling David that I'm a librarian and the first library I worked at had a beautiful poster of this up behind their check out desk.
Sarah: (looking up at me from beneath her big brimmed gardening hat) Oh, you're going to make me cry.  It's just such an honor to be married to him.
Me:  (frankly, I don't know if I said anything cuz I'm thinking, "Oh my God, I made Sarah Stewart cry!)
Ok, so I'm a little hazy on the details here but she asked where I was from and said her son had been testing cars in my city and we talked about said city for awhile.  Then she asked if I'd like a postcard of her garden.  Um, yes please.  I'll take whatever you're willing to give me, Sarah Stewart.  So she hands me a postcard of this beautiful, huge, maze garden she has.  Reminded me of something you'd find in Europe.  I took it and exclaimed about how she must spend all her time there...blah blah blah.  And she turns the card over, which has a few bullet points of things for writers.  1. Learn Latin.
    Me:  Ooh!  I took Latin in college.  My professor was a genius, seriously, the most intelligent person I've ever met.
Sarah:  Yes, my Latin professor was a genius too.
Me:  In fact, I took Latin with my husband, while we were dating.  When he finally proposed, he got in touch with our Latin professor and asked him how to say a traditional Roman proposal and he proposed...
Sarah & I together: In Latin!
    At this point, Sarah stood up, tears in her eyes and wrapped me in a huge hug.
    Sarah:  Your husband must be a very special man.
    Me:  Yes, he is.  (starting to cry myself)  He even got 120 floating candles to help with the proposal.

So there we stood, crying and embracing each other.  We said some sort of farewell and I turned back to the line to find Jody standing there.

Jody: (paraphrased) What the heck is going on here?
Me: (still teary) I made Sarah Stewart cry!  She made me cry!  We just had the most beautiful moment!
Jody: (paraphrased) What the hell is up with you and these incredible author moments!  You suck!
Me:  (paraphrased) I know!  I'll meet you in the hall.

So I went to the hall to compose myself.  Ran into Chris (who shall appear again later) and we chit chatted about what went down in day two of autographing until Jody came out and then we headed off for, drumroll, The 40 Winks Pajama Party.  Which is where this selection of moments will say goodbye for now.  We'll pick up again next week with the Pajama Party because I'm going out of town again.  If you get lonely in the meantime, by all means stare at my Henry Winkler picture some more.  It helps me through the day, let me tell you. 


  1. Sarah, lol, you are hilarious...

    You and your author moments went something like this:

    Sarah: "Hi, I'm a librarian."
    Famous Amazing Author Star: "Oh my! I'm flustering here. Will you autograph my book, Sarah Perry?"

    Jody: "Hi, I've read all of your books ten times. I buy only your books for Christmas presents. You've inspired my writing career, Famous Author!"
    Famous Amazing Author Star: "Thank you, JONI. Next?"


  2. LOL See, you do write these stories better than I do. Perhaps we need to collaborate on a book of author moments. Quit the day jobs to follow authors around for a year, and then compile the book while sitting in a hotel lobby, in our pajamas, laughing until we cry. What do you think?

  3. Jody, YOU are hilarious.

    Sarah, does your '40 winks' story have anything to do with a certain picture book author who was forcibly (physically) dragged into your conversation?

    So you know, I just mentioned you both in my own SCBWI post about an hour ago.

  4. Sounds like it was an awesome experience. That's great you got to go.