I stand in line with sweaty palms. “What should I say?” I turn to my friend and ask. We’re first up. I crane my neck to see if he’s coming down the stairs. I have nothing to say. I almost worship this man’s work and I have nothing to say him.
Oh crap. Here he is.
“Hi, how are you?” He looks up at me.
This is Jonathan Safran Foer at the Brookline Booksmith about 10 minutes after giving a speech about his first non-fiction foray, “Eating Animals.”
The first time I went to one of his book signings, it was almost out of accident that I fell in love with his writing.
I went to go talk to him about the movie that had been made out of one of his novels, “Everything is Illuminated.” I had heard that the story was partially true, and because the story had moved me so much, I wanted to see if it was really true. So I went to the Barnes and Noble near my house and asked him just that. I can’t really remember what he said, but since I had come early, I got a ticket to get a book signed. I didn’t have any of his books, so I bought the one they were promoting. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” He signed it, and I left.
I didn’t really think much about it.
Turns out that that book changed me. Just like any good book should. Now my copy is worn.
The pages have been flipped over and over again, passages of note have been marked and highlighted, and I’ve shoved it into the hands of all of my good friends.
When I saw him that second time, my heart has pounding. I was about to meet one of my idols again. I felt like a 13-year-old about to come face to face with Justin Bieber. That’s the affect that a good book can have on a person: idolization of the creator. And I suppose that is a large reason of why writers write. To be that rockstar they probably could have never been. To be idolized for their craft. I guess it’s kind of like being idolized for who you are, but less about the image and for about the heart that goes into work.