So, as previous posts have made quite clear, I’m a bit of a fan of Jenny Lawson / The Bloggess. A teeny, tiny fan. Yeah, that’s it. (Would you like to see my Lawsbian Pride t-shirt? It’s in my closet…)
When she was on her book tour for Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, I was initially disappointed that her only east coast date was in NYC. Knowing Jenny suffers from anxiety, I wasn’t going to beg and plead for a local appearance. If something came close, so be it.
Then the second leg of the tour was announced. Was there a date locally? No, there wasn’t one date – there were TWO!!! She was going to appear in Gaithersburg, Maryland on Saturday, May 19, and in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sunday, May 20. Woohoo, look at me and my Bloggess filled weekend.
The Saturday appearance was at The Gaithersburg Book Festival. All the various authors were appearing in different tents with 20-30 minute time slots. Not doubting the power of the Bloggess, I arrived two and a half hours early. The first thing I noticed was the large police presence. It struck me as odd until I remembered Jenny’s tweets about how freaked out the manager of the Buckhead, GA Barnes & Noble was about the number of peeps who’d appeared for her signing.
I went right to the tent she would be appearing in and sat through a couple of other authors, moving closer and closer to the podium as the audience came and went. I ended up sitting in the first row to the right side of the podium. (Well, right side as you looked out from the stage, left side as you looked at the podium.) I was just sitting there and knitting when a man sat next to me. Oh, “Hi there Baratunde Thurston, author of How To Be Black.” He was there for the 5 or so minutes while waiting for his turn to speak. He asked what I was making but before I could answer, a volunteer from the festival interrupted. I tweeted to him the next day –
@baratunde Hi. Sat next to you before your presentation. You asked what I was making. It’s a scarf, for a weasel who belongs to @TheBloggess.
Yes, I was knitting Ron Weasel-y’s scarf. (I gave it to her in Annapolis though as I had to leave right after the festival to go to a birthday party.) You may have heard my squeal of delight when she posted this pic on her blog –
So, Baratunde spoke and I kept on knitting. He was actually really engaging – if you get a chance to hear him speak, please do so. You won’t be disappointed. There were two more authors before Jenny was scheduled to appear. Steve Coll of Washington Post fame was the speaker before Jenny. His discussion was all about the Exxon Valdez oil spill. As he spoke I watched as the sparse audience filled up. Soon all the seats were taken and then the crowd started to line up on the outer perimeter. Completely standing room only. I wish I’d thought to video the crowd. It was ginormous. Once he left, there was a scramble to get the few seats that were given up. Then it was time for The Bloggess.
Every other author who’d come in had a volunteer with them as well as a spokesperson from the Book Store that was sponsoring the Festival. What did Jenny have? She had a police escort. Literally, two officers in front, two in back, plus others thrown in in case they weren’t enough. It was Amazeballs! The book store peep introduced her and then she came on stage. It was a great presentation and I videoed all of it. (Is videoed a word? If not, it should be.) She read “The Psychopath on the Other Side of the Bathroom Door” from LPTNH and did a Q&A. I was hoping to film the police escort out of the tent but she had a lot of people come up to her at the end, which is why the video ends sort of weirdly. Grab a Diet Coke or a Wine Slushie, get some popcorn and prepare to be amused.