Saturday, March 10, 2012

Samantha Baker, Eat Your Heart Out

Last night I went to my first ever book reading and signing.  The evening was made possible by Jen Lancaster, Author of many memoirs.  Hilarious, snarky and bitterly honest memoirs.  Now her first fiction novel called “If You Were Here” is out and I’ve wanted to buy it since the day it dropped.  Not only because I love her work as a general rule but also, see the linked tab up above on my blog - “Vacation In the Ghetto”?  Yeah, well her book is apparently the fiction equivalent of my real life experience.  It has to be read.

Since arriving in Arizona last year I’ve run around doing all kinds of stuff I’d never done before.  It started to occur to me that life is just way too short not to enjoy myself.  And why would I ever want to limit the possibilities of things I might enjoy because maybe somewhere in my mind I convinced myself it wouldn’t be fun?  I wouldn’t.  That’s why I decided to go to this book reading and signing last night.

And insert complete dork here.

Why did I consider myself such a dork?  Well, it occurred to me while I was standing in line, waiting for my turn at the table, that this woman is probably in my top five Authors of all time.  And there she was.  Right in front of me in real life, not just a photo on the back of her book.  Sitting at the Barnes & Noble at Desert Ridge in all her hilarious, tan and fabulous, snarky and brutally honest beauty, with a black Sharpie marker and a head full of the same movie references that I’ve been spewing for over twenty-five years.

But here’s the trick, I only know one other person who devours her work like I do and that friend lives in California.  I was on my own for this experience.

If there is a Chick-Lit equivalent in memoir writing Jen Lancaster has cornered the market.  Her work is witty, sharp, self-depreciating, honest, self-educational and bitter.  These are the kinds of events a girl is supposed to go to with her girlfriends so they can grab a glass of wine afterwards and rehash all the hilarious bits of the night.  Instead, I had Matt drop me off and he went to get us a Kinect while I giggled and nodded alone for an hour.

As I inched slowly toward the front of the line I realized that, not only had I just listened to one of the funniest passages from a memoir I’d ever heard in my entire life (because oh goodness how it resonates), but that I was literally about ten people away from meeting my I-aspire-to-be-you inspiration Author.  My palms literally started sweating.

I don’t run in any kind of celebrity circle or anything but I’m pretty sure celebrity types would all say that unless you made the most lasting impression ever – threw up on them, squealed uncontrollably, got arrested for trying to kidnap them – they are never going to remember you specifically.  Your face, clothes, inane stories about how your friend spells your name JenN so she doesn’t forget the second N, and pout when your favorite Author calls that second N “superfluous”, will all just blend into a vast sea of other idiot dorks who think their stories are somehow going to be the thing that makes her want to get your cell phone number and ask you to hang out after the event to grab a drink.

Because they do that, right?

Okay, in all fairness to myself here I wasn’t quite that deluded, I’m not a total moron, but I did at least want to make a good first impression on this woman.  I’m a Writer.  A Writer of snarky, witty, punchy, Tomboy-Lit.  The chances we will find ourselves in the same room at the same conference or event in the future is more than very possible.

So I didn’t want to be a complete fan-girl dork.  But I was.  At least in my head I was.

After my verbal equivalent of throwing up on the very person I aspire to mimic (career wise) was over, I came around the back of the table and headed for the door where Matt had stowed the escape vehicle that would hopefully get me out of my own head. 

As soon as I got in the car I texted my sister (who knew I was going to this because I believe I somehow managed to evoke jumping up and down, clapping and squealing in a text when I was on the way there).  I professed my utter dork-hood.  I lamented that I’m just freakishly awkward and that meeting people I admire forces the dork-o-meter up about a billion times higher. 

She said “Bet you only felt awkward you were great I’m sure.”

And somewhere in my head I heard “I don’t think you’re a dork.  I don’t think Mom thinks you’re a dork.”  “Mike thinks I’m a dork.”  “Mike is a dork.”


Judi FitzPatrick said...

We've all felt this way, haven't we?

I remember meeting Barry to have him sign his autobiography. Here I was a full-grown 40-something and couldn't think of anything to say - so you got your feelings via birth I guess.

Just one question - who is "Mike"?

Love, Mum

Alice said...

J Lancaster is my favorite too. I'm sure I would feel the same way if I met her, but then again how can you be cool asking for an autograph? I sent her an email once and still have her response in my inbox...yes, I'm THAT dorky.

a1axelady said...

Hi Found your blog from purebloggers and I have a whatever blog also. It doesnt fall into any one niche. And I also quote movies even when aim the only one that knows where it came from.:)

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Heehee Mum, that's a quote from "Sixteen Candles", also where Samantha Baker came from in the title :-) Mike is the younger brother...and a total dork.
Crazy how we get so tongue tied around those we look up to huh? Didn't know you met Barry, awesome!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Oh you're kidding! That is so insanely cool, I'd have saved it too :-)

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Yes! I frequently do the same thing, my sister tends to be the one who gets most references haha. Thanks for stopping by, looking forward to checking out your blog too!

Anonymous said...

LOL...John Hughes love! hell yeah! Sixteen Candles is my wife's all-time favorite movie and it's definitely in my top ten. Pretty In Pink, too. I can't decide if I'm a Duckie guy or a Long Duck Dong guy. They're both super awesome.

Ahem. Anyway...hooray for experiencing new things and meeting your literary idol! Totally understand your mindset going in-- I know I'd probably feel the same way if I met John Green: make myself sick worrying that I'll sound like a total moron, and end up saying next to nothing because what's the point, it's not gonna resonate anyway, right?

I've met some of my sports heroes and barely said a word to them because I thought that saying "you were my favorite player growing up" would make me sound like a 5th grader. Then again I'm socially inept with people who *aren't* successful authors!

Anonymous said...

I started reading her blog in 2008 when I lived in NC. Fabulous! Her blog that is. :)
Very cool you got to meet her!

Karlo said...

"Instead, I had Matt drop me off and he went to get us a Kinect while I giggled and nodded alone for an hour."

For some reason I find it quite amusing envisioning a woman in her 20s doing this XDDDD.
I'm sure you had a lovely experience anyway. Most of us do not really get to meet the people we desire oh so much to meet.

Lynnie said...

I remember being so excited when I met a local author that I froze and stood there for about 5 minutes until my mum came and save the day XD

Anonymous said...

Love your blog! I came over from "Because Motherhood Sucks" and I will be stalking you - you've been warned. ; )

And let's face it we all have a lit'l dork inside us, some more than others - I usually date those, marry them and then divorce them because.. Well, they're dorks.

I look forward to reading you!

Suldog said...

We all have our thoughts of dorkiness. I bet your author has similar thoughts. We all do (except for those of us without any conscience whatsoever, perhaps Paris Hilton or Newt Gingrich.) Relax. We all love you, and we don't think you're dorky at all.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Insomniac** (see below) - YES! Your wife is a-ok as far as I'm concerned, anyone who's favorite movie involves a red Porsche, a weird Chinese guy named Donger and a farmer named Ted has GOT to be pretty cool. But yeah, Duckie...I pretty much married Duckie (that's a blog for another day for sure) so I'm going with him over Long Duck. Oh & good god, you think this post is rambling insanity after meeting a lit hero, you don't even want to KNOW what I'd be writing if I ever had the fortune to meet Favre, Rodgers, pretty much anyone on the current Bruins roster (but especially Marchand), Recchi, Varitek, Brady, Flutie...

Joan I'm so glad to know there's another Lancaster blog stalker out there! She's so good!

Karlo you are my new BFF for even thinking I'm still in my 20's let alone saying it out loud...I'm 38 my friend :-)

Lynnie that sounds about right! lol Go mum for saving you.

Mimi that's too funny...I always tried to date/marry the non-dorks but for reasons I can't begin to imagine (note: sarcasm) it never worked out. Couldn't be my own dorkiness though...nah...

Aw Jim, always the charmer but yeah I never mind when my inner dork shines right through. Well, okay, yes I do mind but at least it makes for a good blog post :-)

** Dude you gotta tell me your name, or at least one I can call you, I feel like a whacko calling you Insomniac#4 lol

Karlo said...

You are mentally half your age, LOL.
I don't know whether to apologise for my mistake or not, since it seemed more pleasing to you :P

Rosebud Collection said...

Glad you got to meet your favorite author..sounds like a nice time..but you sure do get yourself worked up..
Once Billy Joel was at my brother's restaurant, he didn't know who he was and asked him if he was delivering food? Yeah, you can see that no one makes an impression on us..haha..
Have a happy weekend..xoxoCarolyn

Vicki said...

Shout-out from PureBlogger here!
I can totally resonate with this, and I might even write about my experience in a post coming soon. I met my hero at a talk at the Free Library of Philly in the fall. Not only did I get to cut in front of the line because I knew a mutual friend, but I actually got to shake his hand and was personally introduced! Yet, I was still so awkward. It was one of those things where you know you could talk to this person over coffee for like 2 hrs, but they don't know that. For all they know you're just another psycho fan...but in my head I'm screaming, "I'm not I promise, I swear! I'm just like you." What really comes out is dumb-founded awe. Anyway, good to read!
Check out mine if you get a chance!