Tomorrow is Word on the Street in Toronto and at my first WOTS ever in the history of time, I had a rather awkward moment with my friends Carol and Verity: What the Hell are We Doing in the Gordon Korman line?!
WITH OUR CAMERAS (!!)
Okay. So, we all know that Gordon Korman is, like, THE Canadian YA author of yesteryear. When I was in grade school the world revolved around my friends reading: a.) anything by Gordon Korman b.) anything by Martin Godfrey c.) the Sweet Valley High super-volumes ( the ones that were twice the size of the regular ones when Jessica and Elizabeth would have their Fiat stolen by a serial killer and have to flee to Egypt and change their identities).
So, at WOTS ( back when it was still on Queen ), we were, of course, hankering to see the Korman in person.
So were about eight billion kids.
After, standing in a long, long lineup to have a couple of Korman books signed ( one for me, one each for my little cousins), I remember thinking: this is embarrassing. I am the tallest person in this line. Every one else is 4"8 because EVERY ONE ELSE IS A TEN YEAR OLD BOY SHOVING OFF THEIR MOTHER IN AN ATTEMPT TO BE COOL!
HOW TO ESCAPE YA AUTHOR EVENT EMBARRASSMENT FOR BOOK GROUPIES IN THEIR MID-TWENTIES
(by Rachel McMillan)
Option ONE: Pretend you are a Book Reviewer/ Phd candidate ( one of the two or a hybrid of both)
1.) dress in professional attire for the event and carry around a notebook and pen ( or laptop or blackberry) so that everyone: from coordinators to publicists think you are there on some very official business.
2.) keep a stern and straight face even if the author reads something funny. Don't look like you are enjoying it so much as absorbing it for a higher purpose. Continually nod ( even if no one is watching, you never know when their heads might turn) and consult your notebook jotting down scribbles to look like you are writing.
3.) If there is a Q and A question, make sure you ask something that is over the children's heads so that it looks like you are there to dissect the inner-workings of the young adult literary field. Don't be afraid to make up a fake thesis. Wait til a lull in handraising and all the inane kid questions like " Are you more like Bruno or Boots", "Have you ever been on an airship, Mr Oppel?" are over then smile politely and say: "Yes. I have a question for Mr. Landy. I am doing my thesis on the current dystopian trends in Young Adult fiction. First off, can I just say that your novel makes a bold statement on the human condition? Secondly, is Skulduggery an emblem of the depraved morality and ethical lapses in post-9/11 Ireland? Is his a dichotomy between the loquacious offerings of authors such as Roddy Doyle and the stern Irish tradition of James Joyce or Flannery O'Connor?"
If the author's jaw gapes and the publicist narrows their eyes at you in a "WTF?" way then you know you have succeeded.
5.)When you get your book signed make sure you hover near the back of the line-up either furiously texting on your blackberry or writing voraciously in your notebook or reading The Illiad.
Option TWO: It was Jimmy's last wish
Bring a kleenex box and dab at your eyes. Erupt in hiccups and staccatoed moans into your cellphone lamenting: " Wouldn't nephew Jimmy love this? Why did he have to be taken so soon? Right before seeing Tim Wynne-Jones in person. It was his one dying wish. He used to pretend he was Rex Zero. Do you remember? I am here in your honour, Jimmy! [here, you can raise your voice a few decibels] It's all for you!!!! If only you didn't perish in that freak falling coffee mug accident. If only you could have held on a little longer. I'll drink nought but tea in your memory. It's ALL FOR YOU!"
(note: Call Rogers Help Line if having an actual automated voice inspires your fake phone conversation)
Option THREE: THEFT
Steal a kid: either from the foyer outside or your street, thrust a book in their hand and drag them by the ear to the signing with a curt sneer of "You'll enjoy this, dammit! Eoin Colfer is more than a fun and confusing name. You love Artemis Fowl. And Butler. And Holly. YOU FRIKKIN' WANNA BE A LEPRECHAUN. Stop sniffling! Artemis Fowl is an anti-hero. Don't know what that is? Yah, that's because your life has been all Bone by Jeff Smith and Ron and Hermione. HURRY the FRAK UP!"