The Tale of the Epically Awesome Book Event

This post will consist almost entirely of pure fangush and OMGs. Just FYI.

So, today I met Catherynne M. Valente. Well, technically I met her yesterday, as I’m writing this after midnight, but whatever. To be specific then, on May 18, 2010 in Portland, Oregon at 4 PM I attended Catherynne M. Valente’s reading as part of her tour for her newly released book The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (is that not the coolest title or what?)

Catherynne M. Valente has become one of my absolute favorite writers. However, I feel like I am incapable of describing her books. She writes retellings of fairytales, and within those fairytales, she writes about those fairytales and what they do and how they work. Basically, she writes about life. Her imagination knows no bounds and her writing is some of the most gorgeous writing I have ever read. However, the best thing is that when you read one of her books, you can tell with every sentence you read how much love she has for what she’s writing. In sum, her books are why I read, why life is worth living to read books like these.

So yeah. Awesome writer. She’s also an awesome person and ridiculously friendly. I had definitely not expected that. The event was really nice and intimate since there was only a small crowd. She read a chapter from her new book (there’s a wyverary! who’s the son of a wyvern and library!) and there was a Q & A section afterword. I didn’t ask anything because I couldn’t think of a question, so I mostly sat there listening to her speak, fangirling so hard and feeling that what she had just read, the responses to the questions she gave, everything felt so right. My thoughts were pretty much, “This. Yes. Everything! Just yes!”

Afterward, I went to have my copy of her book autographed. While standing in line, I tried to think of what I could say to her, but I didn’t even know what was the right thing to say. I wanted to be sincere, but everything I mentally rehearsed sounded fake and stupid. What does one say to a person whom you consider to be a literary rock star? When I came up to the table with my book in hand, I managed to not babble a stream of incoherent nonsense, told her my name, and thanked her for signing my book. And then I went to poke around the YA section of the bookstore, cursing myself for just standing there mutely as she signed my book.

Remember how I said she was super friendly? This is where that part comes in. After a couple of minutes, I screwed my courage to the sticking place, walked back up to her, and told her that I wasn’t able to say this before, but thank you, thank you for writing books I love to read, thank you for… I don’t even have the words to express my thanks. And then she gave me a big hug. After that, I managed to say that I would be at WisCon and that I was super excited to see her there again at the Fairyland launch party. She asked me what my name was again, and after I told her, she looked me in the eye and said, “I’ll remember you.”

I think I died a little, at that moment.

Everything about meeting Catherynne M. Valente made my entire day, if not the rest of my week. There’s probably some hyperbole in this post, as well as some hero-worship, but I don’t care. I put authors on pedestals, even though I know writers are normal human beings and that writing as a profession is anything but glamorous. But, to me, writers perform magic. They are magicians that make the impossible, possible. And I got to meet and connect with one of those magicians. Needless to say, I am even more excited for WisCon than I already was, and I cannot wait to meet her again and say hello.

And, of course, I now have my very own, signed copy of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making! Literally there has been nothing about this experience that has not made me deliriously, ecstatically happy.

Published in: on May 19, 2011 at 1:16 AM  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dear Emily,

    I love you. I should call you up right now and tell you that I love you in person, well in phone person, but, but, actually I really come up with a good excuse except that you are not on skype. Anyways, since I am too lazy to write in my own blog, I decided to read your wonderfully creative blog and enjoyed it thoroughly. Good luck with the end of school and stuff and I shall see you in person, like actually really in person, in a few weeks.


    • I love you too Michael! Have all of the fun, and I can’t wait to see you again as well.

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