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."
YES: LIBRARIANS ARE THE BEST PEOPLE IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD.
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: "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:
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.