I’m not sure if I have ever mentioned to you that I’m not exactly cool or not but…yeah I’m not cool. One of the cool things that has happened since my book coming out and well turning that big number birthday is that I have been able to go to meet a couple of other authors and get their books signed. Granted you can go to a book signing whether you have a book out or not, I just never had before. In fact, it had never occurred to me that I could. Not a lot of authors have one stop light towns without bookstores or libraries except for the one in the elementary school on their book tour junket. I don’t like to drive for longer than thirty five minutes so you see my dilemma.
For our eighteenth wedding anniversary we drove to Cincinnati to see Dave Ramsey live. Yeah I know, you are either thinking we are big nerds or that we are the coolest right now. Who wouldn’t want to see Dave Ramsey? I have to tell you I was stoked, BUT it got even better because we found out that Jon Acuff was going to be there too. I don’t know if you know this but I have read all of Jon Acuff’s books and I am pretty sure that we are twins. You know, aside from the fact that he’s younger and we don’t have the same parents and have no relation whatsoever, I am pretty sure he is the male version of me. When I read Quitter I asked my husband if he knew him and had called him and recounted my thoughts to him. When I read Start I thought he was a genius and that while parts of it reminded me of things I think, mostly I thought wow my little brother is so much smarter than I am.
Back on topic, I had the privilege of meeting him at the event and getting a couple of books signed. We had a small conversation where it came up that I wrote and that I had a book out too. So what does he ask me? Do you have one with you or do you have a card? Uh…nope. I had read Quitter and the quitting part I have down pat it’s the starting that I have trouble with. I was only part way through Start at the time and was not at all prepared for that question. It never occurred to me that anyone would ask especially someone so accomplished. So my first and maybe only encounter and when I see him first I take sneak pictures (think Tina Fey in Date Night) of him because the line is long and I may not get my turn, and then when I do meet him I’m an idiot.
Fast forward one month. Some years ago my cousin introduced me to Jen Lancaster’s books. Jen Lancaster is a Purdue Grad. My husband is a Purdue Grad so automatically she is family. This woman is hilarious. She, at least in her books, is that friend you have that uses really foul language but you love her anyway because she makes you laugh so hard you almost pee. I want to be her best friend and drink cocktails with her after my kids are in bed. I want to float in the pool and talk about the summer reading list with her. I’m pretty sure we would be very good friends if we were only to meet. We would meet and I would say something funny then she would and then I would and then we are besties, except that isn’t how it happened. And do you know why? Because I am an idiot, that’s why. My friend and I drove four hours to Michigan to go to her book signed and meet her. I am finally there and I shake her hand and she thanks me for coming and what do I say? “No, thank you for coming.” Who says that? An idiot. Me. Because I. Am. An. IDIOT.
I did the same uncool 12 year old girl meeting One Direction thing I had done when I met Jon Acuff. Because I have not one ounce of play it cool mojo. I am apparently a fan girl. When we left I needed a drink so we stopped at a gas station to get a Coke Zero because I was having an ok day but not a great ‘I met someone famous and I didn’t make a fool of myself kind of day’. When I don’t make a fool of myself I get ice cream. (Side Note: Did you catch the Easy A reference?) Yeah I have teenage daughters and little boy. All I get to watch are teenage shows and movies and superheroes. Don’t judge me.
Later that night I was recounting to my friend Kelly what I had said. I groaned. She said well when I had my turn I said, “I like your brain.” “Who says that?” I lost it. I laughed and laughed and laughed some more. I couldn’t breathe I was laughing so hard. Then later I started to laugh again. I told her that at least maybe Jen would remember her and she might even get a tweet out of it. So far no such luck.
So apparently I wasn’t the only one who went fan girl on Jen. I feel a bit better. I have had exactly one book launch party and I have had one speaking engagement since that time. It is not that I haven’t been asked it is only that I am not sure how to handle it. I have mentioned several times that talking in groups is way out of my comfort zone but looking at it from someone like Jen Lancaster or Jon Acuff’s point of view I have to wonder how they handle it. They have far more experience and they seem so calm and cool. I can’t even meet someone cool without coming off like an idiot. How do they not only keep their wits about them but also handle the crazy fan girls like me? How do they go to the store without being recognized when they just want to run in and grab some groceries and get home? I’m not sure I am ready for that kind of responsibility also I sometimes go to the store in a ball hat and no makeup and you know someone would tweet that. It’s the world we live it. Going undercover is hard to do.
For those who have paved the way before me and for those of you I have met and those I have not yet had the pleasure I want to thank you. Thank you for being cool even when those of us who admire you are not. You handle your responsibility with grace and that is to be admired too. Sometimes (ok usually) it is only after the fact when I have time to think and reflect that I start to get it. It has to be stressful, humbling, and amazing all at the same time to do what you do. I’m not there yet and maybe I never will be. Even if I never become a true peer (read besties) and I stay the fan girl it is still the coolest to have the opportunity to meet someone who has accomplished much and handles it with grace.
For those who I have had the pleasure of meeting at my own events, I thank you too. Thank you for your support. I’m not cool and I don’t have it all together, but hopefully that will come with time. Just know that deep down I’m a fan girl and I’m your fan too.