Just a Little Idol Worship

6 Oct

*Clears Throat* Ladies and Gentlemen, behold:

That’s right, just take a second for that to sink in.

This week, for an incredibly random reason, I just happened to be on the Barnes and Noble website. I just happened to see that Patricia MacLachlan was going to be at a local store signing books a mere two days later. And I just happened to nearly die of excitement. The timing of this event was particularly ironic to me, because it was only a few weeks ago that I wrote this post here talking about my favorite book of hers. Coincidence? Probably. But amazing nonetheless.

For reasons that I just can’t fathom, the number of people who showed up to the event was small. Sit-in-a-circle-with-the-author-while-she-discusses-her-life-and-how-that-life-inevitably-makes-it-into-her-writing small. So, while I think that the book lovers in Minnesota who didn’t come to the event are idiots, I was happy to have such an intimate gathering with one of my very favorite authors.

About midway through the conversation, when she was talking about her writing process, she stopped mid-sentence and pointed at me. She asked, “Are you a writer?” I laughed nervously and admitted that yes, I was a writer by night and a teacher by day. She looked at me and said, “I knew it! I knew you were a writer; I could just tell.” How I didn’t spontaneously melt into a puddle on the floor at that exact moment is beyond me. There are not words to describe how getting recognized as part of the writing community by someone you admire so much feels. It’s…heavenly.

I had the opportunity in our conversation to tell Patricia about how when I was in seventh grade I wrote her a letter telling her how much her books impacted me emotionally. I told her that she wrote me back, and how that meant the world to me, and how I’ve kept that letter all these years. When I showed her the letter she seemed truly shocked, and thanked me for the gift of keeping it and bringing it that night.

She asked us if there were any of her books we wanted her to talk about. I asked her about my favorite, Unclaimed Treasures. When I told her it was my favorite, she told me that Unclaimed Treasures was nobody else’s favorite and the fact that it was mine made me “one in a million.” Again, how people out there don’t recognize the beauty and simple impact of that book is just shocking to me.

Then, to make an incredible night even more special, she gave me her email address and told me she’d be willing to Skype with my classroom sometime. After she signed my books and I was leaving, she pointed at me and said, “Now don’t you forget to write me!” Like I could ever forget a second of that exchange.

I’ve spent the last two days constructing the text of that email inside my head. I want it to be perfect, to tell her that her words that night meant the world to me. How she impacts me like no other. Most of all I want to say “thank you.” Her books are everything I aspire to be like, and her words and support are beyond inspirational. They’re everything.

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One Response to “Just a Little Idol Worship”

  1. patrice October 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Andrea this is amazing, and yet I am not surprised. You walk the world with such grace and she noticed.

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