I am not a fangirl

At 4 pm, when I scoped out the situation for friends who were coming later, the line had reached the limit inside Borders and had spilled out into the Wheelock Place lobby, circling neatly halfway around the glass atrium to the doors nearest the Orchard/Scotts Road intersection.

At 6:15 pm (the signing began at 6 pm), when I was done with coffee, the line had closed the circle of the glass atrium and shot straight out beside the exterior wall of Borders to the bistro's al fresco area at the back of the building. That's where Wahj joined the line.

At 6:45 pm, Wahj hadn't moved from his original spot in the line --- although by 7 pm, he'd abruptly advanced 5 metres. That's when I left the scene.

Like I told my colleague who asked me excitedly yesterday if I was going to hit the Kinokuniya/library@orchard signings, I love Gaiman's work and I love reading his blog, but I don't really feel the need to have his signature on any of the books I own. In fact, I feel like reading his blog's already given me more of a window into his thinking and creative process than he owes his readers.

And even if I were to meet him, I've only ever read Neverwhere, Coraline and American Gods, which to my mind doesn't quite qualify me to ask him any meaningful questions. And if I don't say anything meaningful to him when I meet him, even if it's for all the 10 seconds that he's scrawling over my book, I'll just spend the rest of the day facepalming at all the things I should've said.

(Now you know why my domain name is toomanythoughts.)

So even when I received the kind offer to cut in line from a friend who'd been waiting since 4 pm, I graciously declined because that wouldn't be right and I just didn't want it that much.

The real perk about hanging out at the Neil Gaiman book signing, though, is that the place itself immediately coalesces a ley line of its own that draws the universe together. To wit: the 4 pm recce turned into an impromptu reunion with former students from four years ago, two of whom were waiting in line and one who just happened to be passing by. At the 6:15 pm drop-in, I ran into the friend who offered to let me cut in. (I don't see the guy for a year, and he's become a father. PS: His kid's named after a Gaiman character) When Wahj showed up later, he was immediately greeted by two former students and later saw another old friend pass by. After we'd been waiting for a while, another mutual acquaintance that we haven't seen in at least five years strolled by, and he'd been out of the country so he didn't even know what the line was for.

So even though I didn't wait to get a single book signed, it felt like everything came together just as it should've. And seeing Mr Gaiman himself in person --- he's rather taller than I expected, but all I've seen of him are his book photos --- and hearing him give meticulous but polite instructions on how the signing would be run, was quite enough to send me home feeling like it was an evening well-spent.

Maybe if I finish a few more books before his next signing, I'll muster up the courage to wait in line and to say something witty-but-not-pretentious the next time he's in town.

Edited to add:
Wahj's version of his wait is much more poetic.


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At 7/09/2005 11:59 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We really enjoyed seeing Neil at the Cineleisure centre on -- wow, Tuesday? Yeah. It was a fun experience, even though the cinema was flooded. Of course, when I emailed the British Council to inquire about the space I'd tried to book for the /other/ event, they tersely replied that my email had never reached them, have a nice day.

Good thing Comics Mart had *its* -ahem- together. ;-)

London is beautiful, green and leafy and we wore jackets to the grocery store on Thursday. We miss you guys.


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