Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fan Girl

You get to a certain point in your life/career when you stop having those "fan girl" moments. I thought I had gotten to that point. After all, I've worked with some of the best and consider some pretty amazing people friends. But apparently I'm no where near as cool as I thought.

For example...

The very first day of the MD/DE/VA SCBWI Summer Conference I sat down to breakfast next to this woman who was alone at a table. She had this friendly smile and cute pixy face that made her approachable in a room full of people I didn't know. So after about ten minutes of chatting while eating, I looked down at her name tag and saw "Margaret Peterson Haddix" printed in bold black lettering.

That's when it dawned on me--I was sitting and talking to the bestselling author of Shadow Childern Series. And of course the first thing I blurted out was, "Oh! You wrote Among the Hidden! My friend loved that book!"

...virtual crickets chirping...

No, I didn't play that cool at all. I couldn't even say something like, "You're such a wonderful writer," or at least, "I'm really looking forward to hearing your presentation later today." Instead I had to inform her what book she wrote (a fact I am sure she remembers in detail without my help), and I couldn't even keep the conversation personal but had to refer to my friend's passion for her books.

Luckily she is just as nice as she looks and didn't bat an eye. She just smiled and then continued on with the conversation. Of course I was mortified. But she later let me take a picture of her, which I neglected to save on my camera phone because I live in the dark ages where I think phones belong plugged into walls and cameras should contain longs strips of glossy cellulose acetate.

Second example...

Later that same day I was eating lunch with an editor from Random House. We talked about how she got into the business and what industry trends she is witnessing. I even found out about this great meeting room in the Random House building in New York called the Louis L'amour Room that is decorated in a Western theme complete with cowboy boots and lassoes. Things were going swimmingly until I asked her what projects she has enjoyed working on, and she told me she was the editor for Hattie, Big Sky. Of course I got all excited. "Oh, my gosh! I love that book! I mean, it totally blew me away! And you edited it? That is so awesome!"

...virtual crickets chirping...

Good thing we were sitting with an agent who got the conversation back on track and the editor didn't seem to hold it against me. We actually spoke a few more times this weekend, and I managed to refrain from gushing about any other books.

Third example...

I was standing in the hall chatting with some agents, talking about books and movies and plays. When I mentioned that I went to high school with Matt Damon's cousin, an agent (who represents some of the biggest names in YA/children's lit, mind you) went all fan girl on me. This totally unassuming man got really animated and wanted to know all about my good friend Matt. "I just love Matt Damon! Is he tall? Is he as nice in person as he seems on TV? Don't you just love him in The Talented Mr. Ripley?"

...virtual crickets chirping...

At least I'm not the only one.


  1. I loved this story! I'm glad that you had such a wonderful time at the coference and met such great people. Don't feel too bad about still being a fan girl; I'm pretty sure I would've been much the same or even worse. :)

  2. Think of it that you know the things you love. Just as long as you always know when those crickets chirp!