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.”