I had the glory of getting to see this incredibly awesome person last night at Bookpeople. I had just watched his TED talk a few days before, and then I was at Bookpeople and saw that he was coming and thought, well, it's a sign. Any time I have gone out of my way to see someone I admire I haven't regretted it.
I was a bit of a spaz about it and I feel slightly embarassed... I read that you had to get there at 4 to get a wristband and I assumed it would be mobbed and I better get there an hour early... and find childcare for my kids for an hour in the afternoon, no easy feat... as it turned out, the literati were fired up about ol' Dave but not fired up enough to like storm Bookpeople and it would have been perfectly fine for me to just show up at 7:30 for the reading like half the other schmoes.
Also I bought his (fur covered!) book, The Wild Things. Normally I would not do the signing thing. I'm too shy in the face of people I revere, I'd rather admire them from a distance. But since I'd gone to all that trouble I decided to get it signed. For my brother, and then I'd get some real brownie points from him to make the agony of having to go face to face with Dave Eggers worth it. As it turns out, it was rather agonizing and the pang that won't go away is exactly why I don't like to do things like that. He was such an amazing guy. He really was willing to chat for a few moments and really have a moment with each person who went up to him to get their book signed. Even though there was a huge long line and I wouldn't have faulted him at all if he'd rather rush through a bit. But I rushed myself through and now looking back I realize he was about to say something more to me but I cut him off because I was afraid we were having a moment of awkward silence. So, note to self: Be Here Now. Let celebrity authors finish their thought without letting your fear of uncomfortableness get in the way.
Anyway, this guy is really unbelievable. Aside from his writing which I think is great, it just seems like he spreads the love around in a major way. Instead of clinging greedily to fame/fortune and attempting to ensure he never gets pushed off his pedestal by steadily churning out safe and predictable books, he's like, "Well, if all these eyes are turned towards me, I'm going to use that spotlight to make sure these other things get attention, too." His just amazing amazing work with 826 Valencia etc which I could rave on and on about... encouraging people to go out into their community and give of themselves... support your local bookstore for god's sake (which I'm SUPER embarassed to say I need a big kick in my lazy ass to do, and I got one from Dave himself last night)... and also just giving some of his spotlight to other authors, spreading the love around as I said... last night he introduced and raved about two local Austin writers, one of whom had published a novel with McSweeney's (which accepts unsolicited manuscripts!!), and had them read before him. Bestill my beating, breaking heart. Staggering genius.
Of course on top of it all, he is SUPER cute and funny and really wanted to engage with the audience and just talk about interesting stuff, and kept asking the audience to give him a relationship question rather than a writing question. Sad to say almost no one obliged and I wish I had had the balls to do so, or just ask him any more interesting question that he was looking for. Everyone just wanted to ask him (mainly) about how to get published, it seemed. Oh well. I'm glad he was there to encourage everyone to volunteer at Austin Bat Cave (and live life and experience something, anything, a whole bunch of things) alongside trying to get yourself published. Getting published is great and all but let's spread some of this love around.