Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What It's Like to Meet a Famous Author

C2E2 is coming up this weekend and it's probably my favorite weekend of the year. C2E2 is the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo and every year, I let my nerd flag fly. I love the excitement and the exhibits and the panels and just being surrounded by my giant nerd family. I also get to spend the weekend with my BFF in nerdom. This was us before leaving for last year's C2E2:

Oh. My. Glob. We look fresh to death right now.
One of the things C2E2 has been awesome about is including prose authors in their nerdy lineup. Every year, a few more show up on the schedule and it sets my heart racing. because while I love comics and toys, books own my heart and soul. Last year, my BNFF (best nerd friend forever) and I went to ALA and I thought I would die of awesome.

Derp derp derp.
I met Tamora Pierce, author of the Tortal books, and I cried and snotted all over myself. I've been a fan of hers for over 20 years. And this brings me to the actual topic... what it's like to meet a famous author.

I know that they are people like you or I and they put their pants on one leg at a time. But OMG THEY WROTE A BOOK!!!! Authors are like rock stars or movie starts to me.

Neil! I wanna party with you!
The more I like their work, the more nerve-wracking the experience. I tend to behave like a fangirl, which means I behave like a total idiot. And after every meeting, I feel somehow deflated because I acted like such an idiot. I say this never having met an author who was rude to me. George RR Martin seemed disgruntled and Lois Lowry was distracted. And I think I might have scared Ivan Klima with my fervor over his work... ugh. But I've never met an author who was rude or dismissive. My insecurities all come from this inner sense of self consciousness that only manifests itself in regard to famous authors. I don't care what the rest of all y'all think.

Even when I can put on a good face on the outside, I have a hard time remaining calm on the inside. I barely made it through my two minutes with Tamora Pierce before I started shaking and had to run away. Jacqueline Carey, one of my favorite fantasy writers, will be at C2E2. I worshipped her work when I was in grad school. I lived in the same town as her then and the idea of running into her at the grocery store or Barnes and Noble was enough to make me nervous every time I went shopping. I'm kind of afraid of spontaneously combusting on the convention floor.

The other side of this problem is that after I meet the author, it sinks in that they are a person. A real, flesh and blood person who has a real, probably messy, writing process. They have lives and do things like eat, sleep, and poo. They do not live and breathe their stories. Those stories do not come fully formed out of their brains onto the page. In essence, these writers are not gods.

And, I get a little sad. It's not the author's fault. I imagine I'd feel the same way if I ever met Mariska Hargitay and saw for a fact that she wasn't a 9 foot tall Amazonian, ass-kicking goddess in real life.

I love you, Mariska.
This is all my own fault for putting authors up on pedestals. On the one hand, I think I should cut it out. On the other, if I cut it out, that kills some of the magic of writing. So, what do you think. Have you met famous authors, movie.television stars, musicians? How do you react?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Amazing Tattooed Librarian

I am very lucky to work at a library where the director is totally cool with visible tattoos as long as they aren't swear words or boobs. I have five tattoos, two of which are almost always visible (forearms), two of which are visible in the summer (backs of my ankles) and one of which is never visible (back left shoulder, you perv) because our dress code forbids sleeveless shirts and tank tops.

This would be completely cool at my library.
I get patrons who ask about my tattoos and I like it. I get a fair number of tattooed patrons and sometimes I ask about their tattoos and then we geek out about tattoos for a while. A few of my coworkers also have visible tattoos. We're all kinds of progressive at my library. However, like most people, I do not like when patrons try to touch my tattoos. No one likes to be touched uninvited by a stranger. Tattoos are a part of a person's body - not some shiny thing for you to go all magpie on. So if you're thinking about it, don't do it.

Tattoos tell a story, which is why I like them so much. Even if you have a terrible tattoo, there's a story there, and honestly bad tattoos make for the best stories. I have a Metallica tattoo on my left wrist that wasn't executed very well. It also hard a hard time healing because I got it while I was sick with H1N1 (without knowing yet just how sick I really was). On my honeymoon. It looks gnarly, but that's the most exciting tattoo story I have. Part of me wants to cover it up and write a new story on myself, but another part of me feels like that would be invalidating the original story.

I like them both and I don't care what you think. Haters.
I love asking about other people's tattoos. I love gawking at other people's tattoos. And with warmer weather on the way, I'm going to get to do a lot of talking and gawking. This will be the first summer that I can show off the Adventure Time tattoos on my legs. Yeah, that's right - I have Fionna tattooed on the back of my left ankle and Cake on the back of my right. And there isn't even a story there except I flipping love Adventure Time.

What time is it? Tattoo time!
I guess this post didn't have a lot to do with the library or with books, except for the fact that I think of tattoos as a narrative on a person's body. They're a collaborative effort at telling a story. I appreciate that any tattoo artist worth their time and money doesn't want to tell a shitty story.

I'll leave off with my favorite library tattoo story. I have a quote from Watership Down on my right arm with that freaky looking rabbit from the cartoon, the Balck Rabbit of Inle.

Insert metal as hell guitar solo here.
People are always asking me what the hell it is and a lot of people guess either wolf or cat. A tatted up construction worker asked me once what it was and when I said it was a demon rabbit, he gave me the stink eye and kept his distance. But my favorite demon rabbit tattoo story is when this little girl asked me what it was. I said, "It's a bunny." She howled, "It's not a buuuunnnyyyyyy!" Her mom told her to stop and apologized. The girl got visibly upset and said, "That's not a bunny! It doesn't have a cotton tail!"

No, little girl, it most certainly does not.