Things I have learned from the Texas Book Festival, Part I

awkwardness unite!
introverts crawl out of shells
eat jumbo corn dogs

What have I learned from the Texas Book Festival so far? I’m glad you asked!

1. Sherman Alexie is fucking hilarious. And not only that, he has such a concise, incredible way of answering questions that I just want to sit at his feet and bathe in all his glory. I wish I had written down some of the insightful five word sentences he uttered yesterday. They were amazing. My heart went pitter pat, and now I have to search out some of his poetry.

2. Rick Riordan really knows how to work that 12 and under crowd. He has this tone of voice that is definitely geared for kids, but is not condescending or simpering. He just makes his voice come alive – like if you can imagine a person’s voice jumping around, that’s what he accomplishes. His words are simple, and never gives away a lot about his books, but when he starts talking there’s an electrical charge that fills the air and the kids just. go. crazy. It’s really great to watch.

3. George Saunders is just as brilliant as everyone says he is. He’s charming and awkward and probably one the smartest people I’ve ever heard speak. If I could grow up and write half as well as he does, I think my head would explode from sheer force of ego. He makes me want to join an MFA program, because I might get lucky enough to have someone like him teach me.

4. No one cares when you drop your jumbo corny dog on your pants and are left with a giant mustard stain. Everyone at the Bookfest has a stain of some kind on their clothing. I think you’re required to have one just to get in.

5. Even if you are exhausted, you should plead with everyone you know so that you will have a date to go to a club and watch an after hours fiction vs. non-fiction smackdown. Even though the room will be 1,000 degrees and so jam-packed with people you can’t lift your arm to scratch at your mustard stains, go anyway. Even though it will end with the lamest thumb-wrestling match between two writers ever, go anyway. Even though you will talk non-stop to your friends afterwards and sound like a lunatic who never gets out of the house (because you are a lunatic who never gets out of the house) go anyway. And even though, as you are leaving, you will say something completely idiotic on the stairs causing Vendela Vida (editor of Believer Magazine, founder of 826 Valencia, wife to Dave Eggers) to turn around and look at you, like, "Did you just say something idiotic to me?" GO ANYWAY. You will have fun. You will be enlightened. You will be inspired to write. You will make plans with your friends for an Annie singalong.

I am ebullient. A word I hardly ever use, can barely spell and can never pronounce.

As I told a friend of mine, a weekend filled with free chocolates, nerds talking about nerdy things, books, and an extra hour of sleep is the Best Weekend Ever.

I’m working on producing the VH1 show right now.

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