Monday, March 28, 2011
I've had the immense privilege of seeing her in-person twice. The second time is probably the most exciting (and I will go into that in a different post) but I wanted to write about the first time, well, first.
It was 2006. I had been out of college for three years and was working a pretty intense office job. I'd been struggling to finish writing a novel that, by that point, I had pretty much given up on since there just wasn't enough creative juice left in me by the end of my work days. I heard about a benefit at Radio City Music Hall that involved three writers: Stephen King, John Irving and J.K. Rowling. Of course, I decided that I must go.
I very much wanted to go with my best friend, Katie (also a huge Jo fan), but she wasn't able to at the time. So I went alone. Because I was getting a single ticket, I got a pretty nice aisle seat in the front orchestra.
The benefit was extraordinarily set up. Each author had their own "set" that reflected their style. Each read a chapter from one of their books and answered some pre-selected questions. Both John Irving and Stephen King were entertaining and delightful.
J.K. Rowling was the last one out. Her "set" involved a gold and red velvet throne-like chair. She wore gold heels that had glittering snakes for straps. She read a chapter from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the one where we see young Tom Riddle in the orphanage). And--you know what--she seemed just a tad nervous and even a little shy. In other words, she was human and she was just lovely.
Seeing those three writers at that point in my life was vastly important to me. When I got home, this is what I wrote on the back of my ticket:
In case you can't read my prescription pad handwriting, that says: I am a writer. I will never not be one. I just need to keep on having faith.
Within a year, I had quit my intense office job for another less-intense one and I had started working on the novel I'm about to get published. Once I realized that I couldn't stop myself from writing down stories, no matter whether anyone ever read them or not; and once I realized how much those stories made me fulfilled and happy, making sure I kept writing them became one of my top priorities.
Three authors that kept me going as a writer, when I wasn't sure I would be able to, and now there are actually four authors among us.