My Neil Gaiman Book Signing Adventure

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a Neil Gaiman book signing.

And. It. Was. Epic!

16464868382_44a3911f73_kIt all began when a friend posted about the event on Facebook. At first, I hesitated because:

  1. The signing landed on a work day.
  2. It was at Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins (about an hour and a half north of where I live).
  3. I didn’t want to go alone…Yep, I can be a scaredy cat who needs someone to hold her hand when she’s completely out of her element.

My resistance, however, crumbled when my friend solved two of my three dilemmas. He offered both company and a ride. I happily scheduled the day off of work and spent the next two weeks preparing myself to meet one of the most influential, inspiring, and creative authors around.

Yes. An adventure…

Dear God! I had no idea the book signing would be such an adventure. I completely underestimated Neil Gaiman’s popularity.

The epic day began when my friend and I departed Denver at 1 p.m. With the signing starting at 4 p.m., we figured this would give us plenty of time to deal with traffic, drive to Fort Collins, find the bookstore, and get a decent place in line.

Yeah, wishful thinking!

As we pulled up to the bookstore, I asked, “Is that the line?”

“Yeah, I think so.” My friend looked equally shocked by the crowd stretching from the bookstore’s entrance, down the sidewalk, and around the building. We parked the car, hurried across the street, and searched for the end of the line.

And searched…And searched…And searched…

Seriously! There were so many people. I couldn’t believe it.

We finally found the end of the line and hopped in. While we waited for the signing to begin, we marveled at Gaiman’s popularity, the ever growing line, and the eclectic crowd. It seemed everyone and their brother loved Neil Gaiman.

As my friend and I discussed some of Gaiman’s work, a woman behind us jumped into our conversation. Then the guy behind her jumped in as well. And, before we knew it, we were in a small chattering group.

Side note: It always amazes me how quickly book nerds bond. You can be total strangers one minute and best friends the next.

After about an hour, the line started moving.

An enthusiastic cheer went up!

…And then quickly died when we only moved a few feet.

Yeah, in that moment, I knew it was going to be a loooooong afternoon. But, hey, at least it was warm! We’d lucked out with the weather that day–an unseasonably warm 75 degrees!

In fact, it was so warm, I’d decided to leave my jacket at home. Why would I need one when I’d be back in the car by the time the sun set?

Yet another idiotic assumption on my part.

For the first three or so hours in line, I was relatively comfortable. My feet hurt a little, I was a tad hungry, and a bathroom break would’ve been nice. But nothing major. I could easily deal with it all.

Then the sun slowly set…

As the temperatures slipped and the first shiver hit me, my friend kindly offered to go get his jacket for me in his car. And what did I say? “Nah, I’m good. But, thanks.”

Gah! I’m so stupid and stubborn and stupid!

Note to self: It’s okay to accept help from others. You don’t have to suffer because you’re too proud to show weakness.

Thankfully, a bookstore employee came by with hand warmers and I was able to use them to heat up my hands, arms, and feet (don’t ask about the feet; my plan failed). I also tried to–subtly–steal body heat from those around me by scooting closer and closer.

Actually, the chilly weather became a bit of a joke amongst our group. As the hours wore on, we realized the line wasn’t moving. It was just condensing from all the people huddling together.

Anyway, being cold was by far the toughest part of the experience for me. Sure, I was hungry. And, yeah, I had to use the bathroom. And, duh, my feet, back, and head hurt. But it was the cold that nearly did me in.

Thank God for the amazing people keeping me company in line. If it hadn’t been for their entertaining conversation, relatable sense of humor, and (semi) fanatical enthusiasm, I would’ve given up on the five hour journey to the bookstore’s entrance.

10351912_334456836746871_7954107548591425517_nYes, you read that correctly. Five hours! And it took another hour of windy-weaving through the bookstore to reach Neil Gaiman.

As we drew closer and closer to the famous author, my nerves got worse and worse. I had no idea what I wanted to say when I handed him my book: “You’re an inspiration.” Or, “Thank you for all your advice to aspiring authors.” Or, “I love your work!” Or…?

Everything I thought of sounded dumb and cliche. And the closer we got to Gaiman, the more I panicked.

Finally, I decided to mimic those in front of me with a short and sweet, “Thank you.” Yeah, not exactly the most eloquent or memorable thing to say, but at least I wouldn’t embarrass myself with an epic fangirl moment: I’m, like, your biggest fan, like, EVER! That would’ve been mortifying. And, also, untrue. Yes, I’m a Gaiman fan, but no, I’m not the biggest one. I’m pretty sure that lofty title goes to a guy in our group. After he got his book signed, he looked ready to pass out.

As for me, well. I honestly can’t even tell you what happened when it was my turn to meet Neil Gaiman. I vaguely remember leaning in for a picture, and I think I stuttered through a pathetic “Thank you”, but other than that, I have no idea. I likely looked like an overwhelmed, OMG!, dazed moron.

Once I had my book signed, I staggered over to the exit to wait for my friend and the rest of our group. I’m not sure if it was exhilaration, exhaustion, or a combo of the two, but I had the worst urge to giggle. I couldn’t believe I’d just met Neil Gaiman!

I opened my book and admired his signature.

10390100_334456853413536_4687527123228986405_nOnce everyone had their books signed, we left the bookstore. By then, it was almost 10 pm. Sheesh!

After a failed trip to Starbucks (grrr, so annoyed they’d already closed for the night!), and a farewell to our buddies from the line, my friend and I returned to his car and made the trip home.

Later, as I collapsed in bed, I laughed and thought, “Did that really just happen?” Of all the ways for that day to go, I hadn’t expected it to go that way. But, you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing…Well, maybe I would’ve accepted my friend’s jacket, lol. But, besides that and the discomfort of standing in line for over six hours, I enjoyed every second of the Neil Gaiman book signing.

February 6th, 2015 will definitely go down as one of the funnest, craziest, and most adventurous days of my life. Thank you to those who stood in line with me and kept me distracted and motivated. And thank you to Neil Gaiman for being such a creative, inspiring, and patient author. I don’t know how you signed that many books without your hand falling off! Truly amazing.

If you’d like to read more about Neil Gaiman and his work, click here!

Neil Gaiman from Stardust QUOTES You have to believe-1

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A Trip Down Memory Lane

Well,  I’m sad to announce my CSU “Underdog” Rams failed to triumph over the CU Buffs this year at the Rocky Mountain Showdown. However, they put up a respectable fight and showed CU (once again) that they’re always a force to be reckoned with!

-10In honor of the Rocky Mountain Showdown this year, my sister, mom, nephew and I decided to take a quick trip up to Fort Collins to revisit the CSU campus before the big game.

For me, Fort Collins is more than a beloved college town. It’s where I first admitted to myself I wanted to become a writer. It’s where I first put pen to paper. It’s where I used to pretend my manuscript was an essay for a class…I supposed this a story for another day. For now, walk with me. We’re taking a trip down memory lane!

RoadsignsThe point of no return. Dun, dun, dun…Head west for Boulder, or keep driving north to the promise land of Fort Collins. *Cue heavenly light and voices*

-5After a delicious meal at our go-to breakfast spot, Farmer’s Table, we headed over to the school bookstore to update our CSU fan gear. As usual, my nephew was more excited about the train tracks next to the store than the town, or the t-shirt we bought him, or the game, or anything else for that matter. “Nane! Nane!” he cried. Over and over.

Thank God he’s adorable.

We then started visiting our favorites restaurants in Fort Collins to pick up a few snacks for the game.

-8First up: Pizza Casbah. As you can see, this restaurant was featured on the Food Network, so it’s gotta be legit, right? Well, trust me, it’s LEGIT! Let’s put it this way: I graduated from CSU over six years ago and I have yet to erase their phone number from my contact list.

I just…can’t…do it! -9We also made stops at other local favorites, including Big City Burrito and Fiona’s (a European delicatessen). I’m not going to lie, it was amusing to stand in line with CSU students. Listening to them commiserate about the homework they had yet to do, or the computer lab they needed to visit, or the lame house party they’d gone to night before cracked me up. And made me feel sad and envious too. I miss college.

Last on the trip “to-do list” was visiting The Oval in front of CSU’s admin building. We stopped here so my sister could snap a few pics with her son, and give him a chance to stretch his little legs and blow off some toddler steam before the long drive home.

2013090195114254 And, yes, I happily made a fool of myself by pretending I was an airplane with him.

-16At last, we packed up all of our food, put it in coolers and reluctantly left town. The traffic returning to Denver was horrendous since everyone and their brother was going to the Rocky Mountain Showdown at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. However, as long and tedious as the drive was, it was worth it to see all the fans in their cars waving their CSU flags and getting pumped up for the game. And it was even more fun to boo the CU party busses we passed.

Back at home, we put our heartburn worthy spread of pizza, potato burritos and barbecue chicken sandwiches on the table and sat down to eat and watch the game. Meanwhile, my other nephew smeared war paint–er, pudding–on himself and shouted, “Bring it on, ya CU punks!”

-1Ok, he’s only one and can’t talk yet, but I know that’s what he was trying to say. I know it!

We may have lost the game in the end, but the day was great. I returned to my college town and took a walk down memory lane that left me nostalgic, but also grateful for how far I’ve come. It’s hard to believe that only six years ago I was sitting in my dorm room pretending my manuscript was an essay for a class. Now I’ve publicly proclaimed I’m a writer and I’m proud of it!


And I’m proud to be a CSU Ram too!