Last night I got to go see Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) read some of her recent, New-York-Times-Best-Seller-Phenom-Amazing book, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.” If you’ve never read her, stop reading this immediately and go read her instead. You can come back later when you have the proper amount of humor in your life.
Anyway, so I was all excited to go to the reading, because she’s hilarious (as you now know), and charming, and I just thought it would be super fun to actually see her in person. I was going solo, so I brought my camera to record all the hub-bub, and write this post to fill you in. Because I care.
I was all ready to be cool, meet some folks, say something kind and witty and flash a winning smile at Jenny while she signed my book and then I’d be on my way, feeling awesome about my ability interact with other humans.
Lovely plan. Slightly deterred by the fact that the second I stepped out of my car all of my social skills seemed to have dropped out of my body on to the pavement, where they were run over by a white truck.
Not to be shaken, I grabbed my camera and thought, “If I can get in a groove with shooting, I can hide behind the camera and no one will be the wiser.” So I immediately set about taking pictures of the Barnes and Noble store, and the poster hanging in the window. Well, that is to say, I did that after I got myself untangled from whatever sailor’s knot I had unwittingly tied around myself with my camera strap and my purse strap. That struggle lasted longer than you might imagine for an adult.
After fighting my way free of the things I put on my body myself, I popped inside, found the book, wandered around then—lo!—discovered that even though I was nearly an hour early, there were no more seats to be had. The woman is VERY popular. Because she’s kind of kick ass. The fine folks at the Barnes and Noble store were unaware of this, apparently. The 25 chairs they managed to grab from their cousin’s house (I assume) weren’t really going to cut it. So then I scurried over to buy my book (yay!) (oh, wait…dang! Full price hard back is pretty pricey. Oh well. Yay!), and to try to find a good perch.
I came across two lovely ladies that contributed to the HOPE 2012 Relay (hi Shelly and Erica!) and exchanged some awkward mumbling of some kind, but tried to make up for it with a hug. (Hugging makes up for awkwardness, right? Or perhaps it makes for more awkwardness. Shrug.)
And then I took pictures of metal chickens. There were LOTS of chickens. Because of this.
And after the chickens, I thought I’d take a pic of everyone holding up their books. So I went up front, and said, “Hey, can everyone hold up their books so I can take a picture?” Which everyone seemed on board for, so I should have stopped there, but then I continued, “I mean, you don’t have to…I’m a stranger and you totally don’t have to do what I say,” and a couple of people lowered their books a little, and then I said, “but it’s awesome and you should and so…” and then finally just snapped the picture because I could tell I was losing them because I wouldn’t SHUT MY TALK HOLE.
Let’s back up to the chicken thing. During the Q&A, I managed to raise my hand and ask a somewhat coherent question, which was, “What is your favorite part about publishing a book, and having it sell so well, and now being on tour?” Her answer was basically that she loves the community that has been created around her work and her openness about mental illness (anxiety, depression, OCD, self-harm, etc.). Which brings me back to the chickens. People that read Jenny’s work are in love with her, and with each other. Which might sound strange and cult-y, but it’s not. One of the very first things I noticed is that there’s no judgement in the room. None. People laughed A LOT. They smiled. They took pictures with chickens. They were just open, accepting, and awesome. And that was all before Jenny even got there! It was a weird and magical feeling, and—yeah—I can see why that would be her favorite part. It’s really, really special.
So Jenny read a section of her book (like a boss, I might add), did the Q&A, and then it was time to line up for the signing. It was a LONG line. So, I had a long time to think about the perfect thing to say to make her feel appreciated without being slobbery with my emotions, and funny, but not too funny like I was trying to pander for laughs or anything. I considered telling her about/apologizing for sending her a facebook message in all caps (True story. It seemed like a funny thing to do at the time.), but quickly decided against it.
It’s possible that I was over thinking it, because by the time I got up there, I handed her my book, then just started taking pictures like a paparazzo on meth, then apologized for that, and she said it was okay and that she has photographer friends that do the same thing, and then I kinda didn’t respond because I maybe forgot she was talking to me and then I realized THAT so I said, “Heh. Heh,” which is more sounds than words, and then I said, “It was great meeting you, my name’s Melanie—but you know that because you signed my book—and I know who you are, so there’s that, and travel safely, and thanks for coming to,” and this is the worst part, “SUNNY SAN DIEGO.”(Ohmigod I don’t even say “sunny San Diego.” Like, ever. Because I’m not a 92-year-old man.)
She smiled and said thanks graciously.
And that’s the story of me being SUPER COOL.
(Bonus? When I got home, I ripped the title page trying to remove the post-it. Because I wasn’t done being awesome.)
Okay, tell me stories about you looking being übs cool. Blogging is a two-way street, after all. Get a-drivin’.