donna tartt. small stature. impeccably fitted black suit, white shirt, red tie. patent oxfords. silky, perfectly straight hair – parted in the middle, cutting her chin. relaxed posture, spread out in her chair. confident. straight forward. enunciates, with clear t’s. doesn’t laugh if it isn’t funny. doesn’t give stupid answers to stupid questions. private. not harsh, despite probable interpretation of description. sometimes has to start a sentence over several times to find the right wording. genuine. dignified. sharp. very, very cool.
i don’t think i’ve ever seen a person resonate with the “me”, that i’m aspiring to let myself be, to the extent that she did. it’s strange, because she meant so much to me already – as the author of a book that changed me. and now we have the author herself. regardless of the sometimes questionable interviewer, she was perfect. inspiring.
the paper trembled with the shake of my hand as i prepared to have my book signed. opened to the right page, post-it with the spelling of my name ready. i stood in line, constantly looking past the other people in front of me to see her interactions with them. should i tell her how much the secret history means to me? how it took me to a world that was here and yet not here at all, and how that’s when i learned what real magic was? what writing could do? should i tell her that the first thing i wrote, that strangers could read and knew i wrote, was about her book? that it basically was me trying to get the whole world to read it, even though i knew it was only read by about a hundred people? should i tell her all that?
no, i thought. i don’t think she’s that kind of person. everyone’s just saying thank you and running away. she’s having to say “bye!” to countless backs, i think she already left minutes ago, really. and then it was my turn. and i shook, and said hi!, voice softer and an octave higher than dignified. she smiled a little and asked me how i was. i don’t think she ever smiles with even the slightest hint of a lie. the blood rushed through my ears and i think that i made sounds that equal me replying. she saw the post-it and asked: “is this your real name?” i said yes, and she asked how it’s pronounced. i told her, and as she was signing, she nodded her head and repeated it almost perfectly. r rolled and all.
a thought came into existence and decided to make an instant appearance. i just have to say that you’re my absolute favorite writer. in that moment, it was the total truth. i could hear it in my own voice, as if it was separate from me. she looked up into my eyes, and said thank you so much. as if it was the most natural thing in the world, we reached out at the same time and shook hands. warm. firm, but not harsh. earnest. thank you so much for signing, it really means a lot. thank you for coming, she replied. have a nice evening, i said and almost turned to leave. she spoke again. thank you. take care. time paused for just a nanosecond. you too!, i said, voice turning soft and an octave above dignified once more. then i sped off, thinking silent shouts to myself.
wow. so, so cool.
(ps. happy birthday, blog. one year already. time is an illusion with the ability of aviation.)