Monday, July 23, 2012

The Awesomely Epic Meeting of the Beyond Epic MEG CABOT!

Because every blog post about a signing starts with ten years of stories first.

On July 14th the wonderful Meg Cabot stopped by Independence Ohio. She was there thanks to the Cuyahoga County Public Library (I will miss you CCPL).

I first hear about this in late May- early Juneish. I was pretty excited, not gonna lie. I tend to miss things like this. I hear about them too late or they're far away. I can't drive hours and hours all of the time (see how much I love Maggie Stiefvater and John Corey Whaley?). But here was an awesome author who was going to be a mere 30 minutes from my house. Huzzah! I was going to be there.

So I *nicely* requested the afternoon off. Not the whole day, of course. Just asked that I didn't come in until 6:00 or so. I did this over a month before the signing, I should add. It seemed perfectly reasonable, right?

Then the schedule came out (I would like to note that we don't get the schedule for Monday until the Saturday night before), and I was scheduled in at 2:00. I had a brief moment of confusion followed by my not really being surprised (this is not the first time something like this has happened). But I was not about to miss MEG CABOT in Cleveland. Oh no.

I started off small. I dug out the original note and clipped it to the schedule. No go. It was removed without comment. I still didn't feel I was being unreasonable. There's usually someone that comes in at 6:00 anyway. All that needed to be done was that out in times should have been switched. My next move was to get everyone involved. I harmlessly put a note on the board asking someone to switch times with me. That did the trick.

Suddenly people were talking about it. Asking me if it was true that she wouldn't let me flip times for something I'd been talking about for about a month. The note that had previously been ignored got her attention. Suddenly, she could "work it out" for me to come in later. Then this story's heroine, Carrie, stepped in and offered to switch with me. I didn't even have to make her cupcakes, which I offered in the note.

Initially I was going alone (a bit of a trend with me) until Littlest Brabenec, Stacey, decided she wanted to go. Huzzah! We unpacked Ada and went off on our mini-grand adventure! It was a little rough going, I believe something was forgotten though it's been doubly so since I can't recall what it was.

Then my beautiful Ada led us to a street that dead-ended next to Independence High school, where the event was being held. We could see it but couldn't actually get to it. We tried a number of ways. Sone leading to unattached parking lots and others to ones that dead ended. Eventually Stacey and I got there. Our detours and forgotten things were all a part of fate's plan since we happened to get there right as they were unlocking the doors.

Next we spent 15 minutes staring at the table of books to buy. And I had a moment much like the over packing pants moment whose internal monologue went a little like this:

"Okay, so I want Avalon High signed, it's one of my favorites. And I feel a little like I have to get The Princess Diaries signed, I mean, come on. But the event is for  Size 12 and Ready to Rock so I really should get that one. That's the fourth in a series. I can't just have the fourth one signed so I have to get the others."

Which is how I ended up getting hostile glares from others in line because I had a stack of six books under my arm. I have to say that I didn't notice the parallels in the book and pant logic until now. I think this is also why I end up replacing all of the books I get signed. I can't casually read those ones. Obviously.

Regardless I ended up buying those six to have signed and Stacey picked up Abandon. We took a couple of seats in the center of the second row, ready to rock. An hour early. We chatted. Me excitedly rambling about which books were my favorite and how I hadn't read them in a while. Stacey about how she felt like a failure because she hadn't actually read anything by Meg Cabot. (How's East of Eden coming Stacey?) This happened for a bit. Then I ran into an acquaintance from college in the bathroom (not at all awkward...). The bright side being that as we were heading back to our seats we happened to walk past MEG CABOT who was coming in. I think, instead of freezing this time, I smiled...probably creepily, but definitely too brightly.

We got back to the seats and awkward introductions were made. There was some more chatting and then this went up.

We were excited all over again. I shifted my stack of books around, making sure all of the slips were on the right page. Then a lovely speaker from the library came out.

Poor Meg Cabot had gotten stranded in the Dayton airport. So one of the wonderful library employees drove the four hours down there to pick her up and came back (I love my library). The poor woman had been awake since three in the morning and it was two in the afternoon.

But she came out and was absolutely delightful.

Meg Cabot is absolutely hysterical. She's the kind of clever that pretends like it doesn't know that it is clever. She's not showy about it, she just sort of talks with you instead of at you even if you aren't really asking questions.

What I really liked about her presentation was that we got this background on her. There were some wonderfully embarrassing childhood pictures with her commentary that had me dying. So much of her life has gone into her writing and she always has the best things to say about it all. Of course the Princess Diaries isn't actually about a princess! She may have to rewrite some of the last Abandon book because she's pretty sure that the Dayton airport is actually the underworld.

It was awesome to hear about she originally studied art.

That's her as a fiery red-head and her ex boyfriend...who was a snake.

She did this because a drunk guy at a party told her not to study writing because it would ruin her desire to write. The drunk guy was A. Drunk. B. Wrong. C. Her future husband. She was so open about herself that it was startling at first before I came to really appreciate how fearless it made her. She puts so much of herself into her work and it shows and I am still in awe a little.

Sleep deprivation didn't seem to have much of a hold on her. She pushed through. Meg Cabot is a beast.

Then questions were asked. We were tasked with being better than Dayton, who took too long to come up with questions. I couldn't think of any questions that I didn't think sounded ridiculously lame. (Why did you choose the King Arthur myth to explore? Etc.) Not that it mattered as there were more people in line than we had time for and they ended up not being able to get to everyone (Ha Dayton! We win!).

It was a little unfortunate that the majority of the question askers that did get the chance were younger kids. I only say this (though it's no secret that I am not a kid person) because Size 12 and Ready to Rock was the book she was really there for and all of the kids were asking questions about Allie Finkle and most of the questions were ones she'd already answered. But, what can you do?

There was a funny moment after she got off stage that her mic was still on and she was talking about how cute we were as an audience.

There was a mini rush to get in line for the signing. We were pretty close to the end but that was okay because A. We are capable of amusing ourselves. B. It's totally worth it. C. MEG CABOT! We chatted some more. I got a whole ton of hostile glares because of my pile and more than a couple of not so quiet "whispers." All in all it wasn't too bad. Perhaps it helps that Stacey and I are used to not having air conditioning because everyone else was saying how hot it was and we were all good.

I surprised the woman who was checking books a little. First, because of the whole hi-I-have-six-books thing (I was starting to feel a little bad at this point) and second, because all of my slips were already properly inserted into the cover page. The college acquaintance joked that I was an expert on book signings. Not really. I just know which page they usually sign and was trying to make it easy.

So, we get up there and I'm a little nervous but not brain-dead-oh-dear-god-she's-right-there like I was for Maggie Stiefvater and John Corey Whaley. I told her how impressed I was that she was still moving. She was ultra nice and didn't say a word to me about how many books I had (but I'm sure she was mentally sighing at me, at the very least.) She complimented my strange disaster of handwriting (which I fangirled about). Then she agreed to get her picture taken with me (which I majorly fangirled about).

And Stacey went up and got her picture taken.

Aww isn't Littlest Brabenec adorable? Also, ...they match.

And then we were done. It's always a little bit odd when something like this is over. You're so hyped up and excited about it and then's gone and over and your life is supposed to continue like it always has before. It's supposed to and it will, you'll just be a little changed by realizing that these amazing authors are people.

Of course there was an epic story and of course we were all excited. Meg Cabot is wonderful and funny and clever. If you ever get the chance to see her it's totally worth it.

What I learned:
1. Heather Wells is one of her favorite characters to write because she can still eat a bunch of the foods that Meg Cabot cannot.
2. She has tons of hand-written unpublished manuscripts.
3. She has no issues abandoning an idea for a better one if she's not getting paid to write the first.
4. She gets her names from the phone book.
5. GPSes will take you right past the entrance to Independence High school.
6. Independence High School is the nicest high school I have ever seen.


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