Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chick Lit Cheerleader: Starstruck

Jen with her "boyfriend"
Introduction by Melissa Amster

I love meeting celebrities. It's like an amazing natural high that sticks with me for years to come. In the past, I've met some celebrities that weren't extremely famous, but still well known amongst the circles I traveled. There have been some really positive encounters (where the celebrity takes the time to take pictures, chat, etc.), some so-so encounters (where you just get their autograph and that's it), and, unfortunately, some negative encounters. One of the more disappointing encounters on the spectrum happened with someone I really admire, so that was a hard pill to swallow. I won't share their name, but if you know me well enough, you know who I'm talking about. However, that moment was balanced out by all the wonderful experiences I've had meeting authors (whom I consider celebrities) in person, such as Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner, Jane Porter, Sarah Pekkanen, Kristin Harmel, Jodi Picoult, and Wally Lamb. One of the best author meeting experiences (so far) was definitely with our Chick Lit Cheerleader, Jen Tucker! (I talked about this last month, so check out that post if you missed it.) Jen is here today to talk about her experiences meeting celebrities and other people she admires.

We're All Human

Do you ever ponder what it would be like to meet someone you admire or adore? Maybe it’s Captain America (with or without his shirt on; totally optional), an activist or inspirational speaker, or perhaps the person inline ahead of you who paid for your Starbucks and ducked out before you knew a “paying it forward” act hit you. I’ve had that moment. I knew exactly what it would be like to have a face-to-face with Grammy winning rocker, Seal (my boyfriend in our one-sided relationship). I would be eloquent, charming, and so delightfully bubbly he’d have no choice but make me one of his posse. Then it happened. I stood toe-to-toe with him in Siegfried and Roy’s "Secret Garden" at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, and was a complete oaf. Magically, every line I’d rehearsed became lost in translation. Instead, my opener was. “I really like your music.” Yes. You heard me correctly. What a moment in time for us both.

I always think of myself as the nerdy girl with lipstick streaks on her teeth. The one who drives her kids to school while wearing mismatched pajamas. Last but not least, the woman with swagger who transformed from country mouse into city slicker last summer while strutting her stuff down the streets of New York City during Book Expo America, only to have her dress blow up around her ears Marylin Monroe style as she strode over an air vent, during rush hour, on jam-packed sidewalks. My finest moment you could probably find on YouTube, unfortunately.

When I have the opportunity to meet gracious readers, I often wonder if they know it’s truly my honor to spend time with them because the girl I described above is whom they’re hanging out with. Full of imperfections, carefree and giggly while full of angst for her father battling cancer, and often wonders why no one in her home can change the empty toilet paper roll. Your kindness and sincerity brings me joy, and at times even to tears. When you ask about Gracie’s mad love for Matt Lauer, or if Jack, my television watching golden retriever, is enjoying the new season of Mad Men, I feel like we’re kindred. You could spend time reading anything you choose, and the girl who never lacks for a one-liner finds it hard to express what that means to her.

With Amy in 2013
Social media brings us together like never before. I can’t thank Mark Zuckerberg enough for providing a vehicle through which I’ve met lovers and composers of books. Without him, I would’ve never had the opportunity to spend time with some of the greatest ladies of Chick Lit Central. Tracey Meyers and I had a fantastic slumber party (We really did sleep. According to my BFF, Nancy, I’m somewhat Amish due in part to my 8:00PM bedtime.). I tried to put Amy Bromberg in my pocket and take her back to Indiana while at Book Buzz NYC 2013; she’s adorable. Recently, I laughed over burgers and fries with Melissa Amster and her sweet family. I think we ate the restaurant out of sweet potato and shoestring French fries. This time, I tried to put her children in my pocket and take them with me. No luck. These women work tirelessly to give lovers of all things chick lit an environment where we can gather together, create lasting relationships, and bond over the genre we can’t get enough of.

Trying to fit Melissa A's daughter in my pocket!
I’m still unpacking from a weekend at The Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, in Dayton, Ohio. It’s my opportunity, every two years, to meet new friends while seeing ones who are golden. Where else in the world could I have sat next to the screen writer for Home Improvement and Bosom Buddies, while a legend whose book was brought to the stage by Nora and Delia Ephron was on my other side? Our biggest topics of conversation revolved around if any of us had brought a flask to the session to share, and how both native New Yorkers, with me, the Midwestern girl betwixt them, created the most interesting sandwich cookie. Although I was my effervescent self, the nerdy girl who can’t seem to get that lipstick on straight was having a moment where she couldn’t believe of all the seats in the joint, she happened to pick that one. Just as I bond with readers who “get” being a married-single parent, or loving a child with special needs, the three of us got to the core of what puts us on the same playing field; being human beings just trying to make it through another day. It sounds simple, right? Yet it’s true.

With PHIL DONAHUE at EBWW this month!
I encourage you to say hello to authors and bloggers when you have an opportunity. Connect with other readers and attend functions where some of your favorite people will be attending or speaking. And no matter how your heart might race, or if the words may not come like you rehearsed, smile and say hello. Authors write because that’s how we connect and communicate; it’s who we are. Yet readers complete the circuit when we shake hands, or even hug, and we find those words of common ground.

Jen Tucker is the author of the funny and true stories, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of SaltIn September 2012, she had her children's book, Little Pumpkin published as an e-book. She also blogs monthly for Survival for Blondes. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids and two dogs. You can find her at TwitterFacebook, her blog and on her website. And in case you missed them. check out her previous Chick Lit Cheerleader posts here.

1 comment:

Dee DeTarsio said...

Awesome post, Jen! I can't wait to meet you one day!! (Love your Seal pic!)