Katherine Paterson??? Are you kidding me???

Brad and Angelina WHO???

Okay. In a world of people who seem to love celebrities, I have to admit that I don’t care about them most of the time. Seeing a close friend trumps anyone you’d find on the front of a magazine any day….But, of course, there are exceptions…There always are…

I have wanted to meet Katherine Paterson…since…uh…forever? To me, she is a superstar! I LOVE her books and, as a teacher, I know that kids love them as well. She has a true gift for writing emotional truth—and conveying that emotion in a way that is understated yet powerful, which makes it feel all the more real. I didn’t read The Great Gilly Hopkins until I became an adult (Yes…I truly am!) and I was so blown away… Some would argue that was the case because ole Gilly and I have some similarities ….Fine…I admit it…I chew gum, too…

Well, the universe was once again stepping in to work these things out for me in freakish sorts of ways… I DID have the opportunity to meet her! Oh…my…God…

I have to admit that I worried on the drive there. I mean, what if she wasn’t what I held her up to be all these years? Maybe my imagining would be better left to its imaginings…(What does that mean exactly???)

Well, when I arrived, I learned two things. One: Your palms really do sweat when you’re nervous and Two: I never had anything to worry about…

So, I walked into the room, spotted her immediately, and decided I couldn’t go over. I soon spotted a lady that looked safe enough…so I walked over to her…

I asked her if she worked for Scholastic (It was a Scholastic event!) and she said she did not. Then I asked if she was a librarian or a teacher. Negative. A little awkward silence ensued before she told me she was a children’s writer. Me, being withdrawn and shy, slapped her lightly on the arm and exclaimed, “Me, too!” So, we chatted and she was so, so lovely and nice to chat with. I was calming down…

So, me being me, said, “Oh my God I have always wanted to meet Katherine Paterson…” and then went on about my worries of blabbering incoherently or swallowing my tongue if…IF…I even got to talk with her. I mean I was just so happy to be there to hear her speak…

<< ring, ring >> “Hello? Universe? Lynda calling… Help me out here??? Whataya say??? >>>

The woman says, “NO need to worry. Katherine is just lovely. Actually, we’re close friends. I drove her down from Vermont…” And before I could take breath, she turned and waved, “Hey, Katherine! Come on over here and meet Lynda!”

Ms. Paterson, who was talking to someone else, excused herself and walked over to us—and thank God she carries smelling salts…

Okay. I didn’t pass out but I gushed like a fool. No…I really did. I’m practically a fool now just thinking back on it! And because she had been summoned to us, I think others thought I was “somebody” because we were undisturbed for at least ten minutes. I asked everything I could! And she asked me stuff, too, about my family and my writing–my book’s title and what it was about and said she would look for it! A little surreal, I have to admit! I told her I’d love to send her a signed copy when it gets picked up for it never would have been written without her inspiration….

She is…an over-the-top-talented writer but also so gracious and kind. She’s full of wisdom and warmth and intellect. I teared up listening to her descriptions of children who’ve approached her at school visits and asked heart-breaking questions about Bridge to Terabithia and Gilly. I laughed aloud at her jokes and listened intently to descriptions of her own journeys—as a child, a mother, a wife, and a writer…And as a champion of children! Love that!

Too bad no one sells action figures of Katherine Paterson…I’d buy one for sure…

5 Comments on “Katherine Paterson??? Are you kidding me???

  1. Great story! I am glad that you didn't pass out … and that,if you had, Katherine Paterson was on the ready with smelling salts! So, are there any other authors that would cause you to collapse into literary unconsciousness? I'm thinking meeting Kate DiCamilo or Milan Kundera or Tom Robbins would be kind of like meeting a Beatle for me. Just a thought…


  2. Beautiful picture, Lynda!That's a good question, what other authors would make us check for smelling salts…I had a touch of that when I met Chris Crutcher, but he's such a great, funny, down to earth, guy's guy, the nervousness passed quickly and was replaced by the feeling that I had known him forever.As for other awe-inducing authors…probably Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Carl Hiaasen, they've written so much and I've been a fan for so long, I'd be completely tongue tied.


  3. That's so cool, Lynda… and what funny circumstances to meet under! I think if I met Holly Hobby it might be like that. Someone whose art I have followed and loved since I was 6.


  4. I work for the NH Humanities Council and we've invited Katherine to speak in Manchester in May 2011. Please come. We can all meet her again. I agree, she is rich with wisdom and it's a gift to hear her speak.


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