Saturday, September 27, 2008

"People Were Talked To And Rules Were Bent"

So I went to the National Book Festival today with Scott and Stacy (as well as Vicki, Zoe, Scarlet, and the as yet unamed bun in the oven).
We went there pretty much just to see Neil Gaiman, and were largely uninterested in any of the other authors in attendance.
(Brad Meltzer, who has also done some work in comics, was there as well, but I didn't know that until today and didn't care after I found out - he's done some interesting stuff in comics, but he's done far more bone-headed stuff, so I'm not what you'd call a fan, and I don't think I could have held back from spewing some vitriol his way if I'd encountered him. Really, Brad? Terra was only bad because she was drugged? That's retarded. She was rotten to the core; that was the whole point. How could you miss a point that obvious and that sharp? Oh, you just didn't like the point? Too fucking bad.)
We took the Metro in to D.C. and got there in time for me to pick up two copies (one for me, and one for Scott) of Neil's latest, The Graveyard Book, which, in terms of high concept, can be best described as The Jungle Book set in a graveyard instead of a jungle.
The book isn't actually supposed to be released until Tuesday, but Neil pointed out that it would be silly to launch a book tour three days before the book comes out and not actually have copies of it available for purchase, so an exception was made for the Book Festival, the process of which is summed up in a quote from Neil that serves as the title of this post.
No one other than those of us who were at the Festival - or, as Neil put it, "you lot" - can get a copy before Tuesday. So we're special!
In any case, we had enough time after picking up the books to get a standing room only position where Neil was doing a reading and Q&A session, and then we joined up with Stacy who was holding our place in line for the signing.
(If it isn't already, a video of his reading should be up at the Festival's Web site.)
When we went in 2005, we ended up standing in the signing line for a couple of hours, and when we got up to the front, Neil noticed that Stacy was pregnant and was very annoyed with the event staff for making a pregnant woman stand in line.
As Stacy was pregnant again this time, we were hoping we'd be able to ride the pregnant lady wave up to the front of the line (Note: Pregnant Lady Wave isn't some sort of euphemism for her water breaking). However, we didn't need to worry, as Scott managed to stake out a good position for us in line while I was buying the books, so apart from the time spent waiting before the signing actually began, we didn't have to spend much time waiting in line at all.
When Scott went up to get his book signed, he mentioned the 2005 experience to Neil, who looked at Stacy and said, "She's still pregnant?"
To make things easier for the author, people waiting to get books signed are given Post-It notes on which to write what they want the authors to say with their signatures. I had written, "Look, I wrote what Jon told me to!"
However, in recent travels Neil fractured the middle finger on his right hand, so while he was nice enough to sign books today, he wasn't really up to the task of writing anything too complex. He apologized and said that normally he'd be happy to write what I told him to write, but that he just wasn't up to it. I told him that wasn't a problem at all and I understood perfectly. In addition to signing his name, though, he did draw a quick sketch of a headstone with my name on it, which was cool.
While Stacy had been holding our place in line, a lady behind her told her that she remembered Stacy from 2005, and, in fact, had taken a picture of her back then because of Stacy's (at the time) purple hair.
As Stacy didn't have anything of her own to be signed, she took some of the lady's books up to be signed to help her get around the limit. Once again, "people were talked to and rules were bent."
After the signing we went to the PBS tent for a little while so that the girls could engage in some of the kids activities going on there, then it was back to the Metro. We stopped for frozen custard on the way back to Scott and Stacy's house, and I hung out for a while so that Scott could show me the Lego Batman game.
Because it was supposed to be cool, overcast, and rainy today, I decided that, given that it's so seldom the case that I so these days, I should dress all in black, both as an acknowledgement of my nature and in honor of Neil, who still dresses all in black the way I used to.
However, it was pretty muggy out, and there were various points at which the sun came out and beat down on me mercilessly, proving that I'm clearly out of practice when it comes to the all-black lifestyle.
Ah well.
In any case, I'll post some pictures from today's events in my next entry.

1 comment:

Merlin T Wizard said...

If I may add to the "people were talked to and rules were bent," quote, I would say, "and a good time was had by all." Well, except for the mud incident, but that's probably better left unmentioned. Oops!