Monday, April 26, 2010

In Which I am Rescued by a Librarian, Meet Some Literary Idols, and Discover a Previously Untapped Propensity for Blushing

Many of you may know I have a thing for John Green. And by thing I mean, of course, a literary crush (the completely-platonic-non-creepy kind, like I have on Marilynne Robinson and Willa Cather and Sandra Boynton). I like him so much I've even written whole blog posts about how he's secretly a Nickelodeon character, but that's irrelevant right now, because Friday he came to San Diego! Along with the brilliant David Levithan (author of Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist among many other things, and also editor of a few small books you probably haven't heard of, like Shiver and The Hunger Games series). And I had to go. Of course.

But San Diego? Well, turns out it's kind of big. I merrily wrote down my directions, handed off my kids to their grandparents, and set out an hour-and-a-half early, figuring I'd have time to get a good seat and maybe even read before it started.

I wasn't counting on a massive, humongous Google Maps FAIL. (In all likelihood it was, in fact, a Kiersten FAIL, but for the sake of my ego I'm going to blame Google Maps. Bad Google Maps! Bad!) And so when, twenty minutes until the book signing started, I found myself sitting in the parking lot of a high school with no idea a) where I was and b) how to get to where I needed to be, I did what anyone would do.

I called a librarian.

I'll admit I was a little confused when she didn't even know about the event, but then when it became clear that I was absolutely clueless, she said something that I couldn't believe.

"It's not too far out of my way. Meet me in the parking lot and I'll escort you there."


So I met my new hero and followed her to the event. I give you Valerie, director of the Book Mobile for the Rancho San Diego Library district, and my knight in shining Honda:

Doesn't she have a pretty smile? Yes, she does. Also, she is the BEST LIBRARIAN EVER.

So, safely delivered to my destination by my own personal librarian escort, I rushed inside with three minutes to spare. The room was, of course, packed, but once again friends came through for me. The lovely Khy and her equally lovely mom Debbie had saved me a seat right near the front.

Yes, I am short, aren't I? Jordyn and Khy, my adorable teen book blogger friends.

At this point I was a bit flustered. Being lost always makes me nervous because strangely enough I like to be in control. But I was there, it was all good. And then John Green came out and ohmygoshItotallystartedfreakingoutinternally.

Like, weirdly freaking out.

So turns out I do, in fact, freak out over celebrities. Just not the movie star variety. No, I get all gushy and weird over literary stars. But it was totally earned on John and David's part, because they were amazing. Their back-and-forth was hilarious, intelligent, and interesting. Both of them were so thoughtful and engaging, and while I already knew I liked John, David made such an impression on me I'd like to adopt him. (This probably won't work out for several reasons: he's older than me, probably already has perfectly nice parents of his own, and might even be frightened just knowing I feel this way, but hey--he's brilliant, and sweet, and funny. Of course I want to adopt him.) (Erica, don't feel bad, you're still my favorite editor and have first dibs on being adopted. But you guys would also make really, really cute siblings. Just saying.)

Here are some of my favorite quotes of the evening:

A girl asked David a question about becoming an editor, since that's what she wanted to do. John laughed and said, "Wow, that's a rocketship that only goes up." (Not to be discouraging, but because any career in publishing is a) hard to get and b) a looooooong road.)

Another person asked, "How does it make you feel to know that you've changed people's lives?"

John: "Nervous!"

John: "Obviously I am a rapper. I have a lot of sick flow."
David: "That's just wrong. Never say that again." (And David, being brilliant, worked in a joke about this thirty minutes later that only worked in context, but really, did I say BRILLIANT?)

Finally, John was wearing a Draco and the Malfoys band tee, and David was wearing a Death Cab for Cutie one. John: "I don't know anything about Death Cab for Cutie, but I know they don't sing about Harry Potter." Good call, John.

Anyway. I'll stop regaling you with tales of their hilarity, but they had such a great dynamic. Also funny was that neither of them seemed to be able to keep from bouncing...constantly...up and down on the balls of their feet. If you're prone to motion sickness, you may want to avoid a signing where they talk while standing.

So, done with their hilarious readers' theater and question and answer, it was time for them to sign books. I wrote "Kiersten" on a piece of paper and put it on top of their book and, all of my clever and/or interesting things I was going to ask John completely drained out of my starstruck head, put it down in front of him. I started babbling and he looked at my name, looked up at me and said, "Oh, are you Kiersten White?"

And then I died.

It was really awkward, too, what with the paramedics, and leaving my husband a widower and my children orphans, but really, can you blame me? I just hope my dead body didn't ruin the rest of the signing for everyone else.

A picture in which I interpret everyone's thoughts:

Me: OhmygoshheknowsmynameJohnGreenknowsmyname
John Green: Wow, I didn't know faces could turn that shade of red
David Levithan: Ha ha ha, I know how Hunger Games ends

Okay, really at this point I don't have any clear recollection of what I said, other than that a) I was grinning like an idiot and b) blushing more than I ever knew possible. John said "It's great to meet you!" and I rambled and babbled (in case you were wondering how articulate I am upon meeting people I really, really admire, the answer is: NOT AT ALL) and made googly eyes at him, and then moved on to David.

And yes, upon meeting David Levithan, my already broken brain came up with THIS gem to say: "You are a rock star of editing!"

Me: Ohmygosh did I really just say he's a rockstar of editing? Please, brain, connect with mouth! At least I didn't offer to adopt him
David Levithan: Ha ha ha, I know how Hunger Games ends

Anyway. It's always nice meeting idols in person and realizing they completely deserve your adoration. If you get a chance to see them, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Just please, for the love, memorize something intelligent to say while they're signing your books so you don't end up like me.

And finally, the only shot in which I wasn't saying something stupid:

But only because my mouth hadn't started moving yet.


Dara said...

I know how that is. I about died when I met Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. He also knew me by name and knew I was working on a novel and addressed me in front of everyone and asked how the writing was going.

I think I nearly died then too. My face also turned a thousand shades of red.

I can only imagine what it'll be like in a few weeks when I go to a book signing for Aprilynne Pike. She won't know me by name but I'm sure I'll make a fool of myself in front of her. :P

heidi said...


I'm SO asking D.L. how The Hunger Games ends tonight. I'll DM you once he tells me.


Megs said...

You are too cute and funny and charming and...well, that list could go on forever. (sorry I called you cute - it was the first adjective that came to mind, and well, once out there was no going back. ;))

I'm glad you made it and had a good time! :)

Renee Collins said...

I'm sure that if I were ever to meet my literary crush, I'd go beet red just saying hello. And then, the awareness that I was blushing would make me blush even harder. :)

L. T. Host said...

You already know how much I'm going to whine about not being there so I'll just leave it be.

How freaking awesome is that librarian though? I seriously need to go to my library more often!

Jordyn said...

OMG THIS IS GREAT!! I also need to blog about the event. Pretty sure I was even less articulate than you.

"hahaa, I know how Hunger Games ends."


Katy said...

Love that you got a photo of the librarian! What an amazing night you must have had... I'm insanely jealous. And you are adorable as always, blush and all! :)

Lara Zielin said...

Oh my stars, you are SO cute! And this is exactly what I would have done too! :) Thanks for sharing. Made my day!

Candyland said...

Haha. I feel your pain, as I've posted numerous times about my (actual) rock star crush and how I've completed weirded him out.

Andrea Cremer said...

ACRONYM! I am soooooo jealous. I would have been total fangirl too. Ahhhhhhh!!! I'm reading WG, WG right now and it is soooooo good.

Jealous. Jealous. Jealous.

Melissa said...

hehe you make me laugh. I'm 100% SURE thats what they were thinking too. I mean how could they not.

Abby Stevens said...

That is so awesome! I wish more cool authors came to my area! (Okay, I wish a cool author would come to my area.) Kiersten, you really must convince Harper to send you on a tour of smaller metropolitan areas - there are fans here, too!

J/k, I know it's not up to you... but are you getting this awesome HarperTeen?

Elie Wiesel did speak here a few years back, though... not cool, really, but interesting, heartbreaking, and profound. ;)

Michelle Hodkin said...

The photo captions elevate this post to EPIC.
Love it. So jealous.

Christine said...

Kiersten. I hope you were taking notes on how to behave because I'm sure there are many, many book signings in your future with adoring fans who will be babbling at YOU! and I can't WAIT to find out how Hunger Games ends. Or how Paranormalcy begins!

Kristan said...

Eee, congrats on meeting some of your literary idols!

For the record, you should probably be prepared for people to react to you that way in a few months. ;)

Steph Su said...

Oh my God, I read this in my school library and now I think my classmates think I'm crazy, I was laughing so hard. I LOVE the dialogue captions for the photos (did DL really say that about THG? or is that kinda like, "well, you're in Scholastic so you probably know"?). Also, John Green's adorable, and EEE he knew who you were! That's so awesome! I'm insanely jealous you got to go to a signing with the two of them. Go to move signings so we can continue to live vicariously through you!

Lakien said...

Oh wow. I don't even want to imagine what would happen if I ever saw one of them in real life. I'd probably die too. And babble. And scare David by asking him nonstop about the ending of Mockinjay. And scare John by wearing a t-shirt with his face on it. And not even the 'pizza' one. Seriously.

Also, just last week I saw one of my childhood heroes, the creator of a very popular comic book series here in Brazil, Mauricio de Sousa (Monica's Gang is the comic book), and I babbled so much I'm sure I sounded like a 5-year-old. If that much. Oh well.

Kiersten White said...

You guys are awesome.

For the record, no, David Levithan said nothing of the sort, but if I were him that's what I'd be thinking 24/7. And I'd be giggling a lot. He didn't giggle, though. (He is the editor for Mockingjay so probably one of like four people alive who knows how it ends. And no, I didn't ask him, and no one else did that I heard. Weren't we a lovely, polite, restrained crowd?)

JaneyV said...

OMGGG (good golly gosh - in case you're wondering).

just … just … just … AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Samantha Bennett said...

Kiersten, you are a rock star of meeting celebrities. ;) Fun post! I'm a little jealous of John Green's shirt and David Levithan's Hunger Games info.

Christina Lee said...

SO. DANG. COOOOLLLLLL!!! I love this story!

Marybeth Poppins said...

I'm surprised you aren't STILL blushing. I mean ... John Green! Little bit jealous over here!

Marsha Sigman said...

LOL!!! This is hysterical. I know if I ever meet Stephen all time fav author and idol and all around inspiration for writing...I would fall over in a dead faint. But I am sure not before saying something incredibly stupid that I will regret for the rest of my life.

And that IS the bright side.
And my verification word is 'whine'. Is that thing rigged???

Madeline said...

Honestly Kiersten, you are living my dream life.

If John Green knew my name I think I would actually have a heart attack on the spot.

You are so fantastically awesome and I'm so happy for you!

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

You know, no matter how many authors I meet, I stil get fangirly! ALA is wonderful and terrible at the same time. I get to meet authors but then I'm all bumbly and goofy-especially when meeting authors who I read as a kid and who helped my love of reading grown and are part of the reason I'm a librarian-how do you not act goofy around that?

And how funny that you love Willa Cather! My mom is from tiny tiny Red Cloud NE where Willa is from and even though I have connections to her, I've never read her books. I toured her house though and my grandparents live next to one of the old "Willa Cather tour landmarks." It's a really small town!:)

Mariah Irvin said...

Mariah cannot comment right now. She is going through mad, epileptic fits of jealousy.

Lisa said...

This is so funny! On Thursday night, I saw them in Indy. They were great! I felt like they were stand-up comedy. And don't worry. I did not say anything cool to them either. But John did say he liked my hat! And he lives down the street from me which is sort of awesome.

But it's funny that you got lost on the way there. BECAUSE I WENT TO THE WRONG BORDERS. Yep. So I was going to be early but then I was late. The things we do to meet JOHN GREEN!

Liam said...

I wanted to go the festival so bad, but I sort of live on the East Coast. It's cold here. Don't visit, lucky West-Coastians!

Anyway. John. Freaking Green. And David Levithan! It could only have been better if Hank were there.

Kris said...

Kiersten - I'm such a fangirl, too, when it comes to stuff like that. It's so cool to meet your idols. I've got a picture of my fave band on my blog - and it makes me smile every time I see it. Even though I was thinking OMGOMGOMG the entire time the pic was being taken.

Soon, you'll be doing your own signings and inspiring other fangirls/boys to babble incoherently!

Kris said...

Kiersten - I get all fangirl just like this! I've got a pic of my fave band on my blog and I get all smiley when I see it -- all I could think was OMGOMGOMG when it was taken.

Seriously, you'll be doing your own signings soon and inspiring your own cache of fangirls/boys!

Sara McClung ♥ said...

TOTALLY jealous! Two of my CPs saw them last week too =) (One, I think, was actually at the same signing you were.) I wish they'd come to DC!!!

Le sigh.

Love the pics and commentary =)

Cinnamon (A Journey of Books) said...

Oh my goodness. You are hilarious!

Luckily I live in the boonies and so have never met anyone famous...unless that horse over there was Mr. Ed at one point. I have no doubt that I would say or do something stupid and be no-so-gently urged out of line.

No soup for you!

Debbie Barr said...

That's pretty much what it was like when I met Shannon Hale for the first time. It was all one giant blur of craziness.

I have since gotten better about meeting authors, but I think that, like you, I will have similar reactions when meeting certain "big name" writers who are awesome.

Jessica said...

Great, funny post! When I see authors I struggle to keep my cool too. I got to see David speak last year at BEA and he is funny! I've never seen John, though, and after reading "Will Grayson Will Grayson," I would jump at the opportunity!!

Leah Cypess said...

See, your death was in the service of mankind, because I have not laughed so hard in days. Totally worth it. For me, I mean.

When I met my literary crush (Megan Whalen Turner) the first thing I did was get confused about which Starbucks we were meeting in and MADE HER WAIT FOR ME for twenty minutes.

Jessie Oliveros said...

I loved David's Hunger Games (internal) comments. You know that people will say the same thing about meeting you in about five months. I'm sure somebody already said that in the comments, but I'm too lazy to go back and read all of them.

Melissa said...

I understand how awkward the whole dying thing is. Seeing as I was doing it while reading this post I was laughing so hard!

You're hilarious! I cant wait for Paranormalcy, because I have a feeling its going to kill me with it's awesomeness.

Wow. John Green. He's something else, huh....I'm pretty sure you were more articulate than I could ever hope to be. Just saying.

I cant believe he knew your name!

Kelly said...

I'm so glad you got there. Librarians are awesome! I loved your interpretations!

Claire Dawn said...

Totally freaked for Maya Angelou.

Heaven forbid I ever meet Kiersten White, I'd be screaming for days! :)

Jessica said...

@Leah - OMG! You met Megan Whalen Turner! That's amazing. I would love to meet her...and you!! Loved "Mistwood."

Leah Cypess said...

@Jessica - Yes, I met her when she was in Boston for ALA. I was really excited (once I found the right coffee shop).
And I just looked at your profile - did you review Mistwood for SLJ? If so, thank you!!! That was such a great review!

Jessica said...

@Leah - Yes, I did write the SLJ review. I loved "Mistwood" and when I heard yesterday that there will be a companion book, I just about died! Cannot wait. When I finished "Mistwood" I had that moment of sadness, acknowledging that it was done...all I wanted was more! Great first book!!!!

Donna Gambale said...

Amazing! I've been lucky enough to meet David Levithan -- who is just as awesome as you say -- but John Green is like way way way high on my authors to stalk list. Yay for you!

Stephanie McGee said...

Good heavenly stars! I can only imagine what that must have been like. Very exciting!

Lauri said...

I found you through an ALA newsletter post. Loved this posting. I am SO IN LOVE with John Green as well! I got an email from him once after writing a letter to the school system that tried to ban Looking for Alaska. I nearly peed myself. I shared it with EVERYONE!!! *sigh*

Kiersten White said...

Lauri--Do you have a link for the post? And yes, John Green is incredibly awesome, isn't he? And I can't believe it's taken me this long to discover David Levithan.

jessica reads said...

I saw them in Connecticut a couple of weeks ago... Maureen Johnson was there too. I spent the whole Q&A session preparing my statement to John Green so as to be sure my head wouldn't go entirely blank when it was time for the signing. (Based on my experience meeting M.T. Anderson I knew it was necessary to have a prepared sentence.) However when I got to David Levithan I realized I had used up all possible conversation on John Green.

Allison said...

LOL..."hahaha I know how the Hunger Games ends." That made me laugh really super hard :P both times. Hilarious!