Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Insecure blogging from TLA

It's funny how we (humans) build certain people up so large that, in our minds, they become larger than life, almost idolic. It's silly when you think about it.

I first met illustrator, Brian Pinkney, years ago. Then, my excitement was having met one of the few black children's book illustrators in the field. That was 1990-ish. But since then, I allowed his name, as well as the entire "dynasty" of Pinkney book creators, to become enormous in my head. So much so, that today, when I stood alongside this illustrator, I was so nervous that I could hardly speak, or breathe. In fact, I didn't even say a word to him at first, just handed him my book to be signed, and stood there like a doofus, waiting for him to absorb my thoughts of admiration like osmosis. It was especially awkward because it was just him and me. Oddly, no one else was in line. Finally, he broke the silence and we chatted. Sort of. Afterwards I felt like an idiot. Not because he probably, now, thinks I'm retarded, but because he's simply human, same as me. No better, though his accomplisments are greater. No bigger, a least in the eyes of rational people. Realizing what I had allowed to happen, I cleaned up my act, got it together.

Later, at his personal invitation, I attened a presentation he gave. Since I only had an exhibitors pass, I figured someone would stop me at the door, and not let me in. I looked forward to looking them in the eye, and saying: "I'm an invited guest of the speaker, Brian Pinkney." But that wasn't necessary 'cause I just walked in without incident. Dang, and I was hoping to use that line.

Anyway, before his presentation, he struck up a brief conversation and even asked me to help out with his projector should it blur out during his presentation. It did, and I fixed it. Twice.

Another thing I learned: everyone gets nervous, even those big named folks. Brian was so nervous when he started speaking, that he tripped over his tougue and became somewhat flustered, just the same as I do when in his shoes.


Chris Barton said...

You're batting .500 in your 2006 Pinkney Encounters. Think you'll make it 2-for-3?

rindamybyers said...

Good for you! Sounds like it went well. I bet the next time you go up and meet someone you admire you won't be so nervous. It's like everything else...just takes a bit of practice.

Don Tate II said...

@Chris: I've got a long way to go, when you consider that all the Pinkneys do books: his wife, father, mother, brother, and sister-in-law. He went on to say that he has some neices and nephews who are also expressing interest in the creative arts.

Anonymous said...

Don, I have often felt the same way when meeting these big names. Andrea was my editor for Can I Pray With My Eyes Open? and I was very nervous when I met her for the first time. Ditto meeting editors in person, oh my!

Susan Taylor Brown