No, not the Robin Hood type… or the Bonnie and Clyde type, but… we’ll get there later.
This past Friday , I was lucky enough to get to meet my favorite author, Ted Dekker, for the second time. He came to Mardel here in Tulsa, to do a book signing for his latest book, Sanctuary. (For anyone wanting to read it – it’s a sort of sequel to Priest’s Graveyard, and I haven’t finished it yet – so there won’t be any spoilers here. Promise.)
I was absolutely elated to hear he was coming to town. If you remember, I blogged on here before about going to Oklahoma City to meet Ted & another author, Tosca Lee. ( here & here) That was a wonderful experience – we made an entire day out of it, we spent $75 dollars on new books…. really, it was a banner day.
But, here we are – and I had a second opportunity to meet my favorite author. Not many people are fortunate enough to say that, I realize. I couldn’t have been more happy! Topping things off, Matt said he was going to ask Ted a question, but wouldn’t tell me what it was.
As nosy as I am – THAT went over well. I tried for a day or two to figure it out, then gave up . Mostly. He wasn’t budging on that. Otherwise, things were good to go. 🙂
Well, minus a few bumps in the road. The main one, my sister was out-of-town. Meaning, I was staying with my mother this weekend to take care of her.
Mom, however much she loves me, wasn’t convinced she wanted to spend hours waiting in line to meet his guy, regardless of literary talent. I can’t say that I blamed her.
So, after weeks of scheming, we figured it out. Mom would be fine for a few hours on her own, and with any luck at all, we’d be near enough to the front of the line, that I’d be a minimal wait to meet him, get the books signed, and rush home. Simple enough, right?
Ha. Then, you don’t know me very well. Simple is a rarity around here. Anyway… here’s how it went.
Friday rolled around, and of course, obstacle one came into play first thing in the morning. I get to Mom’s, and get ready to make breakfast, only to find out that her stomach is upset.
Like, making sporadic trips to the bathroom, upset.
Meaning, if it was still upset at 5 in the afternoon, there wouldn’t be any running off for a few hours to a book signing. That had real potential to end disastrously. Big flashing neon “BAD IDEA” signs.
So, after some frantic texting with Matt, and all the bland food we could handle, she seemed to be feeling better. I’ll admit, I did a little happy dance around the house that I was happy no one else was there to see.
5 came and went, Matt picked me up from the shop, and we made a coffee run.
Whoops, there was a line. Naturally. Then, the owner of the coffee shop (my boss,) asked us to run a quick errand – deliver some cinnamon rolls to a lady at the tag agency.
Okay, not ideal, but no worries. Not a problem. Quick , is quick.
Well, quick isn’t so quick when the tag agency is closed. Quick also isn’t quick when the lady doesn’t remember what she owes, and then has to call the coffee shop to ask. (In reality, Misty told her she’d get the money from her later…. so it turned out to be irrelevant.)
Finally, we get on the highway, headed for Mardel.
Surprisingly, the place wasn’t too crowded. Yet, anyway.
We hopped in line, (13th in line, Matt counted later. Not bad!) quite happy with our spots. An employee handed us all sticky notes so we could jot down whatever we wanted Ted to write in our books. To, you know, make the process go as smooth as possible. I scribbled my name down, but since they didn’t really use the sticky notes at the last signing I went to, I didn’t figure they would this time around, either. (I was right. Well, for us anyway. Maybe later down the line…)
For a while, I tried to read Sanctuary. We had an hour and a half to kill. I was tired, hungry, had a coffee buzz going, and was trying to think of something with substance to say when we met him — unlike at the previous signing, where I think “Hi” was all I was able to muster on my own.
That didn’t last for long. I made it a few chapters in , but kept getting distracted. The place was filling up quick! I don’t know how many were there…. but previous stops had around 300+ people show.
Finally, at a few minutes after 7, Ted and his manager Kevin Kaiser showed up. Someone in the crowd started applause, and after a slightly awkward pause, everyone joined in.
The first thing he asks – is how to get everyone where he can see them. He wanted to talk to us.
There was a little bit of a discussion between him and the employees, but it was soon decided – he needed a ladder.
And a ladder, he got! Then, he motioned for us all to come forward. To leave our spot in line , come gather round, then go back to the same spot.
If it had been any other event, I would have laughed out loud. There was no WAY this would end well. Of course, after the fact, I was proven wrong. It seemed like everyone got back in nearly the exact place in line. Won’t lie, it made my heart happy. I expected chaos.
Giggling a bit, we raced forward, (only to be told to get closer still, and waited.
He didn’t speak long, maybe ten or fifteen minutes? But what he said in that short amount of time really stuck with me. At the time, I decided to not take any pictures or video – I just wanted to enjoy it. (Especially since we were in the very front, I almost thought it’d come off a little disrespectful, but I digress.)
Looking back, I really wish I’d recorded it. I did manage to find, with Matt’s help (amazing YouTube skills!), a video someone took of the Georgia tour stop. It’s mostly the same, it varies a little bit, but, he wasn’t using a script, and to me, that’s a good thing. 🙂
Rather than explain it, I’ll let you hear it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
It was really neat. Aside from the occasional “amen”, our group was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.
Well, except for when the Minions theme blasted through the crowd.
Yup. Of course, my cell phone rings. Over Ted Dekker, the Minions sang about bananas. In the front row.
I’ve never shut off a phone so quickly in my life.
Oh, but wait. Who was calling me? Oh, no.
Yup. It was my mom. Who, was at home, alone…. and had an upset stomach all that day.
Not good. I kept an eye on the phone, seeing if she called back. While listening to Ted, my mind was racing . How far back were we in line? How long would it take to get in and out? We still had to get gas , we were on E! No, no, no! We were almost there – we COULDN’T leave now!
He finished speaking, and sent us back to our spots in line. I called Mom back, still plotting in my head how this would go.
Thankfully, she was fine. Just wanted to know how it had gone.
Relieved, I told her it was just starting, and was about to explain what he’d been talking about, when I heard an announcement over the intercom.
Correction. I heard my name, over the intercom.
My full name, over the intercom.
I said a quick-not-really-a-goodbye to my mother, hung up the phone, and listened. I suppose it’s ingrained somewhere in everyone’s childhood – when the full name comes out – you’re in trouble. Everyone knows it.
Blessedly, I wasn’t in suspense too long. I had dropped my driver’s license.
I intended to walk calmly back to the back of the room and claim it. Really, I did. But a little over halfway there, I was in full sprint mode. And I don’t run. I’m sure I looked like a cracked out duck or something… but I just wanted to get it, get back in line, and hope too many people weren’t staring at me. Though, I’m sure they were focused on the author, and not the spastic girl running after a driver’s license. 🙂
While we waited, we started a conversation with Kevin Kaiser. He seems really nice, though I haven’t talked to him much – once or twice on Twitter, and a bit at the last signing. We asked him about the book he just finished co writing with someone – he’d said on Twitter it was a secret project – and I was curious!
I won’t put it here… but Matt and I …from what we could tell, guessed the project correctly. He didn’t outright tell us we were right, but seemed to indicate so. 🙂 I’m excited. He wrote part of the Blood Book, so I’m anxious to read more of his writing.
Also, he recognized us from Oklahoma City ! Which is nuts, since we didn’t say much to him. It was good to talk to him. He seems funny, he’s very animated when he talks. After we got home, I sent him an email, I think I’d like to get him involved with the video project I’m doing. (click here. ) I’ll report back if anything comes of that…
Finally, we make it to the front and meet Ted. Almost immediately, he goes for my arm, commenting on my tattoo. Asked if I designed it myself – which made me laugh. I wish I was half that talented! But we chatted a bit, I told him I’d gotten Matt into reading Black after the last signing, which says a lot – Matt doesn’t read fiction books, he usually sticks to biographical.
Speaking of, Matt’s question? He asked Ted which ended to Green he preferred – the original ending, or the alternate ending that took place AFTER the loop. His answer was that, even though he always intended for things to happen different the second time, that he preferred the first ending. He never intended to write the second ending, but fans were upset that it seemed like God was sending Thomas through an indefinite loop – they wanted to know what happened the second time around. So he wrote it. (How about that – an author that listens to his fans? I love it.)
He signed the books, and complimented Matt on his hair. Actually, he then complimented his Bizarro logo shirt, and really his entire look. That was unexpected! Matt loved it, especially since I don’t always care for how he does his hair. I promise you, I won’t be hearing the end of that one.
We also took a picture. Which, came out a touch awkward, seeing as how they weren’t having people walk around the table, but leaning over, to save time. Makes sense, but the resulting picture, is me looking like I’m crawling on the table…
Ah well, I’ve taken worse pictures. Not the end of the world. 🙂
After that, we got gas, and headed back to Mom’s with dinner. Nothing too exciting. Baja Jacks, the usual fare around here.
But, I’ve been thinking. Rolling what he said in his speech around my head.
It’s really easy to get caught up in the moment of things. The emotion and excitement that comes with meeting someone you look up to can be very infectious. It’s easy to be all for an idea while riding that wave of emotion. I loved hearing him talk about how we’re perfect just how we are, and we need to break out of our “prisons”, of thinking that we aren’t. That there’s so much wrong with us that we need to change.
But, after that initial buzz wears off… and the famous author isn’t there anymore… it’s a little hard to keep that mindset. I could look in the mirror and count off … well, more things wrong with me that I feel comfortable putting a number to. There are so many things I’d change about myself if I could.
I like the thought of being an “outlaw,” and not feeling the need to change anything. I think it’s a wonderful concept. I’m not entirely sure it’s something I’ll be able to achieve… it’s definitely going to take some prayer, and maybe thinking it, even when I don’t fully believe it…. but I think I’m going to give it a shot. Knowing me, I can’t guarantee anything, but at the very least, I’ll end up with a better outlook on myself, and a slightly better self-esteem. I certainly can’t lose anything by trying, can I?
What about you guys? Anyone else have thoughts on the subject?