But in the end, he really came. Markus Zusak, my favorite author ever, came all the way from Australia (36 hours he said) to Utah to visit 500 of his adoring fans. All day long my stomach was in knots because I was so nervous about how it would all go down. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted to get good seats, I wanted to not look like an idiot during the signing. And I was just plain excited.
So we got there quite early to get a place in line, to get good seats and to be first in the signing order. The wait wasn't bad, it actually went buy quite fast. We were about the 10th to 15th spot back. (And when I say we, I'm talking my friend Jenny, my daughter JJ, and my sister and her friend.) When we finally got into the room, we beelined to the front center spot... where the whole row was still vacant. It was actually the second row, right in the front, because the front row was reserved for his friends and staff people. Anyway, I ended up there right on the aisle, which made me a bit nervous actually! Perhaps I was TOO close!
As it turned out, when he came in and we all could see that indeed, this was for real, and he really was here, it was a perfect spot to be! Oh my gosh, awesome! I filmed the whole speech, which I'm hoping to get up on YouTube in parts, very soon... if people are interested. And being right there in the front, I know, I just know there were several eye contact moments! :)
So anyway, he told several fun stories, talked lots about The Book Thief, just a little about the new book, and then read from The Book Thief, which was stunning to me. The audience nearly forgot to clap afterwards we were all so... so... floored really. It was so cool. And he was just as cute, sweet, humble, funny, clever, nice, amazing... as I'd expected. Isn't it great when that happens? I could have listened to him for hours, and I think the whole audience felt that way.
Then it was time to get our books signed, limit two copies per person. We got around that because my daughter, my sister and her friend all had no books to be signed! Lucky us! We were among the very first group to go in there, and were once again maybe 10th in line. When it was our turn, he was so nice, and very personable, and taking a ton of time to write all sorts of things in our books. And after all the worrying, I'm not really sure what I said to him! I think something like this:
Me: Thanks so much for coming. We are all so amazed you are really here!
Him: I'm amazed YOU are here! I can't believe you all came.
Me: Oh wow, you don't even know!
Him: Is this S-H-E-Y?
Me: No, it's S-U-E-Y... yes, I know, weird name, it's my nickname.
Him: Okay, cool, I just wanted to be sure.
Me: Cool... you are drawing pictures!
Him: Yeah, I hate it when authors just scribble their names, as if they didn't even care.
Me: Yeah. That's so awesome of you.
Me: Here's a book for Yamile, my blogging friend who couldn't be here and is so sad to be missing this.
Him: Cool. (Then you should see what he wrote in her book... ah... silly him!)
Me: And here's a book that I'm giving away on my book blog. I had a contest. So this is for the winner.
Him: Cool. So you don't even really know this person?
Me: Not really, well, I guess not, well, yeah, I think she reads my blog maybe....
Yeah, so that was my intelligent conversation. I have no idea if he really said cool that many times, but something like it anyway. Here's what I wish I would have asked him, because there was time, oh yes, because he spent a lot of time on those books:
-- So, what's up with Bridge of Clay then? When can we expect to read it?
-- Will it ever be possible for me to get my hands on The Underdog?
-- Is it true that Fighting Ruben Wolfe has really gone out of print?
-- So, which character are you most like? Rudy, Ed, or Cam?
-- What's your favorite music to listen to while you write?
-- Twitter? Maybe? Someday?
-- What's your favorite book? Who's your favorite author?
-- Will you come again some day?
|The dazzling smile.|
|Waiting our turn.|
|Finally, the moment of unintelligent chit chat, on my part anyway.|
|My sister talking with no problem at all.|
|And Jenny, in her words, "smiling like an idiot!"|
But still we waited and waited. And talked, and talked, and compared book signings, and waited and talked. And wrote him a love letter. Yes, they did have a book where you could write to him, sort of a thank you note. Once I got started on that, I felt I could go on forever. I'm so glad they thought of doing that. Awesome idea. I hope he loves it. Anyway, during all of that, I was happy. Then tired. Then hungry. Finally at about 9:30 (he started signing at about 7:00) we who were done said to those who weren't, we are going to such and such a place. Call when you are done, and see if we are still there. Bye!
They called, just as we were leaving, to say they had just got done. It was 11:00 p.m. And there were still a ton of people there in line waiting! And a ton that were still waiting their to even get in the line! I keep imagining whoever that last person was, and what time it was and how tired everyone was, but maybe they got, like, a lot of special attention! I bet they did. So maybe they were the luckiest in the end?
So that was the little glitch in the whole thing. But that glitch only happened because he was so nice. So you can't really call it that, now can you? No. He was too nice. Yeah right, no, not a glitch.
It was all perfect. And now I can live off that high for awhile, and only hope that perhaps he had enough fun with us all, that someday, he'll come back again. And we can do it all over.