Thursday, May 16, 2024

The visitation

Newbery Award winning author of The Animorphs and The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate, just visited my library. Though yesterday in this space I may have claimed that three billion people were coming to see her, it is possible I overestimated and the number was more like 327. 

It is still a lot!

People might one day ask me: What was Katherine Applegate like?

Hold onto your socks:

She was very nice!

Up until now my go-to famous author encounter story at my library was with a bestsellingish writer named Elizabeth Berg. She wasn't doing an event. Her mother was ailing and lived locally so Elizabeth Berg was in town for awhile. I mentioned something about her name and the author "Elizabeth Berg". She said "I am the author Elizabeth Berg." 

I responded, "I've shelved a lot of your books."

To which she replied, "I bet you have."

Yes, that's the whole story.

It's all in how you tell it.

But I can retire that story now, or maybe make it into my Library Author Encounter Story Emeritus. Because my new Katherine Applegate story is way better!

If you will recall from yesterday's post I cobbled together a fictional picture of Katherine Applegate sitting with her most famous main character, a gorilla. I applied a few arty filters to the picture. They were okay, considering I didn't have my best tools for that kind of work, what with my being at work and not on my own computer. 

I showed the pictures around to a few colleagues and bystanders.

"Are you going to get her to autograph them?" People asked.

"No, I'm too shy," I answered.

I left the pictures on a table in the breakroom though, knowing she would probably be using that as a sort of green room.

Eventually, the author arrived in our backroom and was clustered upon by the usual, mysterious publicist people who acted like ladies in waiting, and whose sole purpose seems to be to accompany the author wherever she went. They all made their way into the break room, leaving me taking care of the check-in machine. A minute or two went by and one of our people, a branch manager in charge of the event, came out of the breakroom.

"She loved your pictures!" She said. "She was so excited by them that she wants to meet you."

I was immediately ushered into the breakroom, through the small crowd of her retinue and the other event organizers. The scene evoked ones I have only encountered in movies, of regular people meeting the President, or a Monarch. The author thanked me effusively. I was then hugged by this famous lady. And finally, she asked me to sign all three pictures for her (who is getting whose autograph!), and I posed for some pictures with her.

It was all kind of dazzling.

And very sweet.

And humbling in its way.

Except in the sense that this was far more in line with what I expect the reaction to be to my art!

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