Monday, July 15, 2013

The Screaming Girl Inside Me

In jr. high I was in a play called Bye, Bye, Birdie. I played a screaming girl. We followed singer, Conrad Birdie, around the stage screaming and collapsing at his feet.

I never understood the screaming girls. Oh, I like music, and maybe I've just not had enough opportunity to meet my favorite singers, but screaming? Really? I'm not like that.

Or so I thought.

Until I encountered Brandon Sanderson at a book store. My husband might have wanted to take several steps away and pretend he didn't know me.

A screaming girl resides inside me. Maybe not a full on vocal screaming girl, but one that starts sweating like crazy, looses her mind, grins like a manic, gushes over how wonderful they are, and says other stuff she can't remember.

She appears when she meets authors I love.

I drove to Salt Lake last Thursday with as much enthusiasm as I imagine the screaming girls of Bye, Bye, Birdie might have tracked down Conrad. I was going to meet none other than Regina Sirois, author of On Little Wings, an Amazon Break Through Novel of the Year. I already had the e-version on my phone, but I was going to buy the book in hard back, no matter what the price was, and have her sign it. To me. I'm selfish like that about books I love.

Maybe I should mention a basic difference I've noticed between a get-up-on-the-stage-and-belt-your-heart-out singer, and a write-from-the-comfort-of-your-silent-bedroom author. Maybe that was enough explaination.

The bottom line? Most writers aren't performers. And even if they are the best speaker in the world, the nature of writing is solitary, personal, something you hide on your computer until its perfect. So here I come, drooling a little and spouting off love.

I might have scared a few authors.

Regina is a soft spoken, gentle person. I could listen to her talk about writing forever. I mean it. Forever. By the time she finished a question and answer session and I made my way to the line, new book in hand, I was sweating.

I think about things too much. The panic part of me dreaded the encounter, knowing I'd likely gush praise that would make such a quiet person uncomfortable, and smile so much my jaw would hurt after. I'd had some contact with her online, and worried both that she wouldn't know me and that she would. The inner voice whispered "what are you doing here?"

The screaming girl inside me refused to walk out. She'd driven to this tiny bookstore using only her GPS, down tiny winding streets in the big terrible city of Salt Lake. She'd shown up late (oops) and already faced the awkwardness of that. She wasn't going anywhere, no matter how uncomfortable anyone felt.

And yes, Regina remembered me. And yes, I'm sure I said something silly. And yes, I meant every word of praise I said. And a bunch more stuff that I should have said. I had my picture taken with her. That's a new thing for me. The screaming girl is still doing a little dance over it.

I'm really as happy as I look.

I started rereading the book again. Sigh. Did I mention I love it?

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