Thursday, June 16, 2011

BEA 2011: Wednesday, With Hugging

Okay, this time I am going to "stay on target" (Star Wars reference!) and only talk about Wednesday and Thursday.

That means I'm only going to tell you my most favorite parts!

Wednesday's Big Moment happened at the very end of the day. I was waiting by the entrance to the Javits Center for one of my friends, when I saw a familiar figure walk across the lobby. She sat down by herself at one of the open tables in the lobby.

Who could it have been??

Why, none other than author and Sorceress of Sentences Catherynne Valente!!!

In case you don't remember, I had a Catherynne Valente siting last year at BEA which I wrote about here and in which I blurted her name and then squeaked out, "Fan girl moment!!" which Catherynne claimed had made her BEA. Yeah right. But I was willing to go along with the hyperbole.

So, after some encouragement from my friends, I gathered up my courage and walked across the wide, empty lobby to say hello. Here's what happened:

Me: Um...Catherynne Valente? Hi, my name is Jennifer and I met you at BEA last year and I just wanted to say hello.

CV: (looks up at me with her sharp eyes and considers for a moment) I remember you! You made my BEA last year!

*SQUEE! You guys, she totally remembered me!!! It wasn't entirely hyperbole after all*

Me: (trying to keep the squee from bursting out) Uh huh. I didn't know you were coming this year.

CV: Oh I'm just stopping here for some meetings before heading to WisCon.

Then I totally blundered over congratulating her on her award for The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. (Note: It won the 2009 Nebula/ Andre Norton Award.)

I have to admit, I don't know much about those awards and haven't bothered to differentiate. An award isn't going to make me read or not read a book and in terms of being an author, methinks it's years too soon before I need to know the difference--if I am ever so lucky. Anyway, CV was perfectly gracious and lovely about it.

Then we talked about how BEA and author travel in general can be tiring. She mentioned that when she gets shy or stressed, she tends to frown. She said that was her natural facial expression! It's funny because it's sort of true, her mouth does turn down a bit and like I said she has such sharp, intelligent eyes. And if you've read her writing or her livejournal, you know how smart and passionate she is, so she can be intimidating. But then, if you've read her livejournal, you know she's actually not intimidating at all. She's nice and normal and open minded and bizarrely (in my opinion) humble about her talent. I told her that when I get shy and stressed I tend to smile and smile until I hate smiling--that could be part of the reason people keep thinking I'm younger than I am.

Anyway, what I am trying to tell you is that we were totally BONDING, Reader.

And then whomever she was waiting for arrived and she INTRODUCED ME as "Jennifer, my BEA buddy" or something cute like that. So I told her it was nice to see her again, and to have a great time at WisCon. And then she gave me a measured look and said, "You know what? We can hug."


I love love love that she said that, because I am not a hugger. You know this. I may seem like a hugger as I apparently seem very sweet and cheerful and I'm short or whatever, but make no mistake: I don't hug people I don't know. Melissa--my twin sister--and I truly didn't hug each other until we were adults because it "felt too weird." So for CV to decide we could hug made me laugh and made me so happy! So we hugged and I said good bye and it was super awesome!

And CV's book Fairyland made the New York Times Bestseller List and I am anxiously awaiting my copy from the local bookstore. Can't wait!!!


  1. hahahahha you are so adorable. i'm glad you got to have this moment. that's what BEA is for. e.g. drooling on michael chabon's hand.

  2. hahaha did you really drool on Michael Chabon's hand, or was that just an example?? (Clearly we did not hang out enough when alcohol was involved. Come to think of it, you tended to already be drunk anytime I showed up. Shame, shame.)