Tuesday, June 3, 2008

LA Weekend #1: Neil Stalking and Idiot Move Tally

Thursday morning I left home with my suitcase in tow because I had to leave for the airport right from work only to arrive at work remembering that my BEA badge was still on my fridge at home (Ding! Idiot Move #1).

Fortunately I was able to take a long lunch and run home and get it. Unfortunately in my rush to leave to catch my flight I forgot my toothbrush and all the materials I needed to do work remotely while I was gone (Ding! Idiot Move #2).

I got to L.A. only to discover that my friend with whom I was staying thought I was to arrive on Friday night. I’m not sure who’s idiot move that was, but (Ding! Idiot Move #3). Fortunately due to happy happenstance, her room-mate was home to let me in.

The next morning I got up at 5:15am so I could get to the convention center by 6:30am to get my ticket for the Neil Gaiman author signing that morning! Woohoo. They started handing out the tickets at 6:30 and I wasn’t sure if there’d be a line or how it worked exactly. There was no line. I could have gotten there later. (Ding! Idiot Move #4).

So I killed time until they let us in to the Children’s Book Author Breakfast, at which Neil was speaking along with Judy Blume, Sherman Alexie, Eoin Colfer, and Jon Scieszka. Profanity laced hilarity ensued.

I dashed off as soon as Neil finished speaking to go get in line for his signing of The Graveyard Book (due in stores in October), because, as Neil put it in his blog, his signing was scheduled

for the second the breakfast was meant to have ended, but it ran late and I was the last speaker and so didn't even get up to talk until after that, and they'd given out 350 tickets for an hour's signing (10.2 seconds per person ) with no real thought as to how they'd get those people through the line in that time. Which was why it was a two and a half hour signing instead of being an hour signing.

I got in line early enough that I did not have to wait very long before I got up in front. I gave my camera to the woman behind me to snap some photos while he signed the book.

That’s my favorite one, because I made him smile. Well, really I didn’t so much as… well… here’s a loose transcript.

Me: I have a theater company up in San Francisco and your son is coming to our show tonight.
Neil: And you’re here!
Me: I know! He knows one of the cast members: Laurie G.
Neil: (exclamatory noise and smile) Of course I know Laurie!

Then he finished signing the book. I thanked him and as I was leaving he said after me “When you see Laurie, give her my best.” I said I would and that was my conversation with Neil Gaiman. Woohoo! Thanks Laurie for knowing his son and giving me something to talk about with him other than “I love your work”.

Then I went off and wandered the halls looking for a publisher or agent for my novel. My novel is called The Deadworks and I will be posting it online in its entirety soon, if you want to read it. It’s actually up online now, I’m just not quite ready to roll it out. You can probably find it if you look for it.

Now, Neil had another signing later that day, a non-ticket signing. As I was wandering around the exhibition halls, my mind slowing turning into a fine mashed potato like substance, I came by the autographing area. I thought “I wonder who’s signing right… oh crap” I looked at my watch and his second signing was almost over. I rushed over to the line and got there just as they closed off the line (Ding! Idiot Move #5).

At this point I was fairly exhausted and went to the internet café area to sit on the comfy couches. As I sat their resting I remembered I had also gotten a ticket to Dennis Lehane’s signing. He wrote a play recently done by the SF Playhouse and I wanted to get his book signed for my friend Tara who works at the playhouse. I fished out my ticket to see when… oh crap. His signing was almost over. I ran over to the autographing area and was the last person they let in line! (wait for it) But when I got up there did I get two books signed (which you’re not supposed to do) like the person in front of me did (one for me and one for Tara, or even one for Tara and one for the Playhouse)? No. Instead Dennis asked me my name. I gladly told him, and as I was chatting with him about his play, he signed the book to me (Ding! Idiot Move #6). So now Tara will have a nice copy of his new book signed by him to me.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.