Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mr. Nick Hornby and one of the best moments of my life...

(Warning: this story is a bit long, and includes not one but two dialogue parts, so you can't say you weren't warned)

One of the great luxuries of not spending my whole life stuyding or teaching, is that I get to spend time pursuing other "interests" - like reading. So this meant, that last week when the new novel "Juliet Naked" by Nick Hornby came out, I had bought it and read it in two days.

Just for a little background - Mr. Hornby has been my favourite living author for a few years now. Ever since "High Fidelity" and "Top 5's" at Capernwray, I had a feeling I was was going to be into this guy. Then I kept reading, and had this strange, reoccuring feeling that he was inside my head. So much of what he wrote felt like something I had just thought, or felt. And so we clicked, Nick and I.

And then I pretty much read everything he wrote - his novels, his short stories, his literary essays, his music-criticism. If the man put pen to paper, I had to read it.

So when I heard that he was coming to Seattle in October, and I wasn't bogged down by lesson planning, or marking, or writing papers, I knew I had to be there. So I got in my car on Friday and headed to Seattle Public Library to hear him speak. I waited in a ridiculously long border line-up, and then got there five minutes after it had started. I ran up to the door, and the conversation goes like this:

Security Guard: "it's full, and we've already turned over 100 people away".
Sharelle: "But I drove all the way from Canada!" and then "please.please.please..." (shameless, unrelently, emabarassing begging)
Security Guard: "oookay...I'll get my manager and we'll see"

Head security guard comes to the door, and says "come with me". As we go up the escaltor, he confesses that he hadn't even heard of Hornby until the day before. "And you drove all the way Canada..." he said, so shocked. I didn't bother telling him that Canada isn't really that far. I thought he had fair reason to feel bad, I mean you work at a library man.

So I sit in the back, unable to see him for the first half while he reads. Then for question and answer, I snuck to the side, and watched him speak. And I was so, so happy to learn that he was as brilliant in person as he is on the page. It felt like his rants were my rants. He talked about being an adult and having interests, the importance of hope in art, and the necessity of having a laugh while you're reading. And my heart beat wildly in my chest.

And then I realized I forgot to bring my book in for the signing, so I get in the book buying line. Only to take 8 years, and then end up at the very back of the book signing line. By the time we get to Nick, he has signed 100's of books. But the event organizers (who now know me quite well as "the Canadian") tell Nick of my lengthy trek.

NH: "All the way from Canada..." (I didn't correct him either) "I hope it was worth it" (with a grin)
Sharelle: "Definitely worth it"

And then we talked about his new movie screening in Vancouver ("I already have tickets" I gushed), he side hugged me, and took a photo. It may be one of the best moments of my life.

Thanks for sticking out that lengthy story. Now when I start to launch into in real life you can say: "Oh I read it on your blog". Which is why, I almost didn't post it here in the first place. But really, how could I resist?

And there we are:

Given all the context above, please resist the urge to comment on how he looks like a creepy British man. ha.


Bec Shulba said...

#1 - never apologize for alengthy story...we're here because we want to read about you. #2 - when i was done reading, i thought, "that was it? that wasn't lengthy!" because you write like you talk and that is fun to read. #3 - very glad that you got to meet your hero - that would be like if i got to meet gary paulsen. you're the best, sharelle.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the story. I love hearing about friends meeting their favorite authors, musicians and artists. My sister recently met David Sedaris, who told her that she had great hair. I think it was the best moment of her life.

Unfortunately, I have no celeb stories that can match. Here's the best I can do:

1) I gave Raine Maida from Our Land Peace a ferrero rocher chocolate (long story).
2) I met Howie Day and he was an ass.
3) I won a contest in Highschool to have lunch with Creed. That one's a bit embarrassing.
4) That guy from Maclom in the Middle budged in front of the line right ahead of me at Richards on Richards.

I'd trade all of these two-bit encounters in for a one positive meeting with an artist I truly respected and adored.

Elizabeth said...

i heart nick hornby and i heart you.

Margaret said...

When I tell people here that I drive to Canada every two weeks for my school they give me horrified looks. Like, what kind of insane person does THAT? I think the fact that it's another country makes it seem especially far.

theRachel said...

Sharelle, GREAT story. I also enjoy Mr. Hornby, though clearly not as much as you. I'm so glad that you got to meet him.

Rick, I can't believe that your sister met David Sedaris - he is hilarious.

Renee said...

I feel privileged to have heard this amazing story in person!!