(Literary) Dreams Do Come True: How I Met My Idol

I know it’s a big blogging faux pas to point out the extended period of time that I wasn’t blogging (shame on me for not blogging and pointing it out!), but I must.

At least for this post.

Around the time that I disappeared from the blogosphere, I was busy studying for two midterms, going to my first (but definitely not my last—sorry dad) WWE event, and packing. For New York. All this madness happened within a week. While it looked like I was about to rip out all my (very pretty and curly) hair, have a panic attack, and refuse to sleep until all my work was done, I somehow managed to pull through the madness.

You see, I had been planning this trip to New York mere weeks after I posted about my Resolutions for 2014.  My friend Eric (half-) jokingly asked me if I would go see HIM in concert with him on March  14th (Bucket List #6). Obviously, I considered this heavily before I said yes. There had to be a better (read: more than one) reason to go to New York than to just see a Finnish rock-metal band; not that I didn’t want to go just for the concert or hanging out with my friend, but if I was going to drop the cash, it was going to be more than just a weekend.

That’s when I saw this:

Screencapped on 06.21.14 from Celestial Timepiece

Screencapped on 06.21.14 from Celestial Timepiece

Joyce Carol Oates is doing a reading in Princeton that same Monday? Done.

Well, almost.

Obviously, I had to get approval from work to be able to work remotely for a week rather than just either use a week’s worth of vacation or fly out two weekends in a row to the same city. Thankfully, I got this approval. Yay for being a diligent, hardworking contributor.

Long story somewhat short: I flew to New York then hopped on a train to Princeton.

Behold:

Princeton University - Nassau Hall, March 2014

Princeton University – Nassau Hall, March 2014

Princeton University, March 2014

Princeton University, March 2014

Princeton University - East Pyne Hall, March 2014

Princeton University – East Pyne Hall, March 2014

Walking around Princeton felt exactly as it should on an Ivy League campus—regal, monumental, historical. It also felt like Hogwarts and being on the set of Gilmore Girls. The entire campus felt like a cluster of castles.

Anyway…

I was so excited about being in Princeton and seeing Joyce Carol Oates that I arrived an hour early to this event. Basically, I was the first person there. And I don’t think the shop owner liked that. Whatever.

This is what it looks like to get first dibs on seats.

This is what it looks like to get first dibs on seats.

Words cannot express the intense anticipation I had to be in the same room as Joyce Carol Oates. The idea nearly frightened me. For years, she’s been a name on the spine of my books, a black-and-white photo on back covers, an overall idea rather than a physical being. But now, now she is a person standing in front of me:

Joyce Carol Oates speaking at Labyrinth Books in Princeton, NJ. March 2014

Joyce Carol Oates speaking at Labyrinth Books in Princeton, NJ. March 2014

Joyce Carol Oates was to read from her new book Carthage, which I began reading during that hour wait for the event.

For the 45 minutes Joyce Carol Oates spoke and read, I couldn’t help but think about how I had done it, how I had met one of my favorite authors, and it was what I had expected and more. After she finished reading, I ran to stand in line for her to sign my copy of Carthage, but then I thought, “No, wait! You can try to get a picture with her!” I snuck to the back of the line because I didn’t want to be that person, asking to take a selfie with someone so prolific in today’s literary scene; I wanted to be discrete, a simple “May I take a picture with you, please, Ms. Oates?” However, by the time I got to the front of the line, I had overthought and talked myself out of asking her, so I simply took a sneaky photo:

Joyce Carol Oates book signing at Labyrinth Books, Princeton, NJ... right in front of me.

Joyce Carol Oates book signing at Labyrinth Books, Princeton, NJ… right in front of me.

"To Mary"—Hey, that's me!

“To Mary”—Hey, that’s me!

All I have to say is this: I want 2014 to be a memorable year, and I want to accomplish and fulfill some of my goals and cross things off my bucket list. Thankfully, I can cross three things off with this trip to New York and Princeton. As some of you may or may not know, I have a (somewhat maybe unhealthy) obsession with Joyce Carol Oates, and I plan to read every book she’s ever written. Soon, soon that goal will be met as well, but first let me figure out how to keep up with her multiple-publications-a-year schedule.

11 thoughts on “(Literary) Dreams Do Come True: How I Met My Idol

    • Mary says:

      My go-to would always be her short story “Where are you going, Where have you been?” I read it in (flashback) ENGL200 and again for an English elective class. I can’t get enough of it; it gives me chills every time. I’d also suggest her novel “The Tattooed Girl,” or “Evil Eye” in terms of short stories. Howeverrr, I noticed on your Goodreads (not stalking, I promise) that you’re reading more YA books, and for that genre I’d recommend “Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You.” I’m still working my way through her list, so my recommendations to match everyone’s taste is limited.

      • Briterati says:

        Honestly, getting advice from someone whose tastes I know and trust, limited as it may be, is definitely better than my picking at random, which is what I’d be doing otherwise- so thanks! I’ll nab those at work soon and get back to you! …or you could stalk my Goodreads to see what I think ;0D

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