I was in Texas when I saw on twitter that Judy Blume was going to be speaking in LA at a Library Foundation of Los Angeles event, promoting her new book In the Unlikely Event. I bought two tickets immediately, knowing it would be not even a little bit hard to find someone to go. (Judy Blume, if for some bizarre reason you're unfamiliar, is the author of seminal books on adolescence, including Are you there, God? It's Me, Margaret, Blubber, Deenie, Iggie's House, Then Again, Maybe I Won't, and also the younger books like Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing, Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great, Superfudge, and then of course the teenage tales like Tiger Eyes. I read every single one of these. More than once.)
My friend Jennifer leapt at the chance. She still has a box of her old Judy Blume books, unable to part with those friends and stories.
When we got downtown, we were both nervous and giddy. I'm in the middle of a blindingly busy week, so I forced myself not to think about the emotion of meeting the person who shaped my childhood. It's too much to take on sometimes. I'm trying to learn to carry things lightly.
Plus, you know, as an adult there's always that nagging worry that a person you admire will be less than once they're standing before you. It's why twitter can be dangerous. People can misstep. It's why the phrase "Shut Up and Sing" can be so cringe-worthy and truthful. I once stood up and walked out of a author's reading - someone whose written words I loved very much - because she began railing on the Bush administration. She was (and is) primarily a religious writer. So. We bring all that to the table when we meet someone of great influence. We hold a pocket open to shove the inevitable disappointment.