Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meeting An Author Crush: Joyce Carol Oates

I have so many author crushes. An author crush, defined by moi, is someone who is so epic and brilliant in their writerly ways that I get all giddy with little doves circling around in my stomach as I think about the possibility of meeting them....and talking to them... in person! 

Last week, I met one of my author crushes- Joyce Carol Oates. She was giving a talk at Kepler's in Menlo Park to promote her new book, THE ACCURSED. I've been reading her stuff since I was in college. She was giving her talk on a weeknight. To make it to the talk on time, I had to skip out on dinner. So as soon as my wonderful husband got home to take over the childcare, I shoved a handful of spinach crackers into my mouth and took off.

I arrived at Kepler's a few minutes before the talk began and picked up a couple of her books. While I was waiting in line to pay…

…Spotted: Joyce Carol Oates strolling into the bookstore looking very elegant in a black hat and a matching long coat. She spoke quietly to one of the staffers and disappeared into another room before her talk began…

During the talk, I was relieved that other audience members were taking pictures of Joyce with their phones because it made me feel less uncomfortable about whipping out my own phone to get a few shots.

After hearing the stimulating talk, I waited in line to have my books signed. When I met Joyce, I told her I really liked I'LL TAKE YOU THERE- it’s her novel about a girl, academically inclined and somewhat naive, attending college in the 1970s. In an interview, Joyce had once revealed that the book was her most autobiographical work of fiction, so I thought it was a fair question to ask if writing the book gave her closure for certain challenges she'd faced when she was younger. Joyce said it did. I told Joyce that her book helped me think about my own college experience. She asked me where I went to college, and I told her.  Before I took off, Joyce said something to the effect-so please don't quote me on this- that in writing I'LL TAKE YOU THERE, she learned to look back at herself in the past with forgiveness instead of irritation.


I thought about what she said while I drove home.

Back at home, I found that I had spinach in my teeth from the crackers I'd eaten earlier.   So now I can tell people I met Joyce Carol Oates...with spinach in my teeth.

Who are your author crushes? Have you ever met an author crush? 

14 comments:

S.P. Bowers said...

Wow, writing helps us learn to look back at ourselves with forgiveness instead of irritation. That's pretty cool, and I could use some of that. How fun to meet an author crush. I went to a book signing for an admired author once and was to scared to say more than "here" as I shoved a book at her to sign. I couldn't even tell her we belonged to the same writers website and had exchanged words before. I'm a dork.

On another note, no, I can't email you from your comments. I get a "no-reply".

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome you got to meet Joyce Carol Oates. I went to a SCBWI Fall conference with Cinda Chima Williams, one of my favorite authors. It was a highlight of the conference. I'm also going to more local author book signings, which is a fun way to connect with authors in the community.

Julie Luek said...

I have author-lusties for Anne Lamott, Bill Bryson, Michael Perry, Tracy Kidder, Barbara Kingsolver. Sighhhhh. LOL@spinach in teeth. Sounds like me.

Laura Marcella said...

That is so cool! I've read a couple of her novels and lots of her short stories. Oates is a fabulous writer. So cool you got to meet her!!

I have soooo many author crushes. I'd be starstruck if I ever met any of them!

Robin said...

Proof of her kindness that she didn't mention the spinach-AND that she focused on you instead of rushing thru the line. I haven't read her yet, and now I want to.

I have too many author crushes-Ally Carter, Jodi Picoult, Natalie Whipple, Robin McKinley, and on and on

Also-I LOVE your header:D

Nicole said...

That's so great that you got to meet one of your author heroes!

Jill Haugh said...

At least it wasn't a booger in your nose.
Thanks for the self-effacing humor and the lovely blog. I shall look upon myself in a kindlier fashion--at least for today.
~Just Jill

Shannon Lawrence said...

How exciting, spinach or no spinach!! I have gotten to meet two author crushes--Kelley Armstrong and Kim Harrison. My ultimate author crush would be Stephen King. I'll say, though, that I tend to be more excited and nervous to meet authors than actors/performers, so even if the person isn't my ultimate, I'm still excited to meet an author.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Elsie Amata said...

I felt like I was right there with you as I read this! I could feel your excitement, you captured it well. That would be me, having spinach in my teeth. I'd love to meet Nelson DeMille one day and I think it's possible. He's a Long Island guy and I'm up there quite often. Fingers crossed!

Gina C said...

Haven't met my author crush yet (Judy Bloom). Thanks for posting this - I've never read any of her books! Love finding new authors to swoon over.

Julie Dao said...

Oh man, that is so cool! I'm glad you got to meet your author crush. It sounds like the talk was very interesting and stimulating. I like the idea of looking back with forgiveness! I've never met an author crush, but I'm pretty sure if I ever got to talk to J.K. Rowling one day, I'd pass out. Much more embarrassing than tooth spinach, ahhahah!

Cynthia said...

Thanks for all your thoughtful comments, everyone!

Lynda R Young said...

I never know what to say to the authors I meet. I get all tongue-tied. I tend to just smile and nod. Awkward!! ;)

Mike Louie said...

I've never met him in person, but I occasionally interact with my science-fiction author crush, Michael Stackpole via twitter. Whenever he replies I get that rush of giddiness and joy.

Love twitter for allowing mere mortals like myself to initiate in dialogue with very accomplished individuals.

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