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Austin Teen Book Festival and random thoughts about stuff

October 25, 2009

Yesterday, I screwed up the courage to go to the Austin Teen Book Festival. The problem with being a writer is that you get used to being alone all the time, and talking to yourself, and wearing pants that are older than your kids, and so when the time comes for you to emerge from your cave, it’s like a person crawling out of a bomb shelter for the first time in a decade. Your eyes have trouble adjusting to the glare of sunlight, your clothes are out of style and full of holes, you’ve forgotten how to interact with other human beings, you’re still wearing a gas mask, etc.

So basically, I staggered out into public yesterday, trying not to drag my knuckles. I nervously pawed at my hair a lot, and muttered things to myself like, “Am I at the right place? Will Libba Bray want to be my friend? I wish I had shoes that fit.”

By this time you may have guesses that I get a little anxious when I go places. Right. Well, all for naught (this time, at least) because I had a great time skulking in the shadows. I was there for Libba Bray’s keynote speech, and she was just as funny and charming and silly and awesome as I thought she would be. I stuck around for the Zombies vs. Vampires panel, where I was delighted to learn that in actuality, if there are any creatures you need to fear, these creatures are pixies. Soul-sucking, flying pixies who take no prisoners. So make a note.

I wasn’t able to take in the other three panels (local authors, fantasy and real YA voices) because I had to run home to rescue my husband from being alone with all three kids. We will not speak of how bummed I am.

When I get used to this whole “going out in public, wearing clothes that fit, speaking to other people” thing, I am going to have to do a better job of introducing myself to other writers. There were so many authors I wanted to say Hi to, but my fear of tripping over a table leg and landing with my face in someone’s cleavage was too great, so I shuffled off after skillfully avoiding speaking to anyone.

This is not a very good PR tactic, by the way, in case you’re wondering. More than that, though, it’s not a super way to make friends. But I’m getting better. I had a great time observing the shenanigans from afar, and I’m steeling myself to really crawl out of my crazy shell later this week for all of the Texas Book Festival festivities.

I have some new, arguably fashionable (at least presentable) clothes. I might get a hair cut. I have RSVPd for a party. And I’m all KINDS of excited about being on an awesome panel about heroes. Surely, I will start feeling a little squirrely the day before the Book Festival events begin, but now that I know I can make it to a Libba Bray event without either A) fainting from excitement B) fainting from dorkiness or C) fainting from forgetting to eat breakfast, I think I can survive this huge mothership of a festival heading my way.

One more thing, Carrie Jones calls her zits “Bidens” because she always names pimples after Vice Presidents.

If you don’t get out and go to author events you will never learn things like this. I am extremely thrilled to know of Carrie Jones’ Bidens now, and I am not sure any other book festival-inspired revelation can ever top that.

Now I am off to finish reading through the copyedits of BRAINS FOR LUNCH, and have some (non-brain) lunch myself.

Yesterday was fun. And it was nice that I didn’t have to worry about getting a ride home. Being 33 does have certain advantages, even if I’m still a dork.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2009 12:29 pm

    Glad it was such a blast! I wish I could have gone. We could have found courage together :)

  2. October 25, 2009 1:04 pm

    Kari! It was so nice to see you! In the future I will have to join you and PJ on your routes to find courage. I have total verbal diarrhea, and I totally had that same “WILL LIBBA LIKE ME?!?!” nervousness the whole time. I always end up introducing myself and then saying something completely stupid.

    I think we should practice. We will take turns role-playing Judy Blume. We will learn to introduce ourselves and gracefull talk about writing without throwing up or fangirling. Good plan? I think so.

    So glad you enjoyed the zombies & vamps panel – it was so freaking fun to moderate, and, yes, Carrie Jones is the coolest ever. If we can learn anything from her, it’s that Grover is good for you, and Maine is cold and terrifying. :)

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