Meeting Orson Scott Card

May 2, 2013   //   by Christina   //   Thoughts  //  No Comments

A couple weeks ago, I attended the LA Times Book Fair, in large part because I’d read  Orson Scott Card was going to be speaking there.  My husband and sister joined me, both also big fans of Mr. Card and his books.  We splurged on reserved tickets.  Ok, the tickets cost only $3 total, but, hey, every dollar counts in my very limited budget right now.  We waited a half hour with those reserved tickets to get into the event "A Conversation with Orson Scott Card."

Mr. Card was, no other word for it, hilarious, along with his interviewer, and close friend/collaborator, Aaron Johnstone.  That hour flew by and it was our unanimous consensus that we could have probably listened to him talk for the rest of the day, or as long as our empty stomachs would’ve allowed.  Immediately after the Conversation, we ran, dodging people left and right, squeezing into every opening we spotted, to arrive at his signing, only to realize we would end up burning in the hot sun at the very back of a very long line.  But, we waited, our fortitude strengthened by the victuals my husband kindly procured for us at the nearby Carl’s Jr.  And waited.  And waited with barely-suppressed relief when we finally reached the shade of a large stand of trees, giving thanks to the genius minds behind sunscreen.  And waited some more, praying we would reach Mr. Card in time.  When asked, none of the volunteers could give us a clear answer as to our chances for meeting Mr. Card, only making vague noises of doubt and leaving it into our hands whether we wanted to abandon our pursuit for another avenue.  An hour into waiting, and only twenty or so people away, we were told abruptly that Mr. Card would be leaving to sign somewhere else and would we kindly leave the vicinity.  Immediately.

I will not mince words.  I was devastated.  Thankful for my sunglasses, so no others but my perceptive husband and sister would see how imminent a spontaneous bout of weeping was about to unleashed upon everyone around us, we made our way quickly to the other signing tent, to be faced with another long line of fans.  Again, we were at the end of it, and another set of volunteers began making noises of doubt about the success of our possibly ill-advised mission.  Another hour and a half of shuffling across the grass on wobbly aching feet and increasingly bowed shoulders, plus some reassurances from one saint of a volunteer who smiled kindly at us, reassuring our morose faces he would do everything possible to convince Mr. Card to stay until we could meet him, we finally reached our goal: to stand across from Orson Scott Card and have him sign our beat-up treasured copies of his beloved novels. 

It wasn’t pretty.  I might have hyperventilated.  Every remotely coherent thought I might have possessed immediately left for greener pastures.  I most definitely flailed around a bit and stuttered.  And there may have been a couple high-pitched giggles thrown in for good measure.  But, as I stepped away from that booth, my book clutched in my sweaty hands, I felt glorious.  Those thirty seconds with Orson Scott Card was definitely worth the over two and a half hours of waiting. 

You see, Orson Scott Card, along with a select group of other authors, were the keepers of my childhood. 

In the movie, Rise of the Guardians, Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Sandman, and Jack Frost work to preserve the innocence, the wonder, the hope, the faith of childhood.  I was never raised to believe in those entities, only learning of them as amusing fairytales my peers whispered about. 

No, for me, in order to escape the loneliness so prevalent in my childhood due to my naturally withdrawn nature, I turned to books, reading so much and so often, my parents had to force me outside so I could soak up my allotted share of Vitamin D.  Within the paper pages lined in squiggles of black ink, vast worlds existed, worlds I could explore safely, where any number of problems were solved in the end, where heroes triumphed, and meaningful friendships forged with imaginary yet familiar characters who would always be there waiting whenever I needed them.  The words these authors pulled out of their imaginations played a large part in helping me pull through those isolated years.  The words, "Thank You," seem so inadequate to describe the feelings that well up in my stomach and chest when meeting these authors face-to-face. 

Orson Scott Card is the only one of those beloved authors I’ve had the privilege of meeting, too many others already long-lost in time and memory, and I shall treasure my thirty seconds with him for a very long time. 

And someday, I hope to be signing a book that I’ve written, and know, maybe, I too made a positive difference in another’s life.

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