I stood in the elevator as it descended and studied the face opposite me. Light red hair, kind angelic eyes, beautiful skin–and they all worked together to make the lady look familiar. Never one to be shy, I said, “You look so familiar. Don’t I know you?”
To which she responded, “Well, I’m Terry Blackstock.”
And I melted into the carpet, double-torched by not recognizing one of my favorite authors and by the gentle, polite–but distinct–laughter of her companions.
In case you didn’t know (and if you didn’t, goodness–how could you not?!), I was in Indianapolis for the ACFW Conference this past weekend, running into the stars of the business, learning at their knees, laughing at their quips. For those who know me really well, I’m proud to announce my foot didn’t make it all the way to my mouth, but it came close a time or two. Mostly with James Scott Bell.
The first time I saw him, outside the same elevator, I thought, I know him. When finally it dawned on me who he was, I thought, He’s so much taller than I imagined! (He’s taller than MSB, who’s six foot). Then I had opportunity to speak to him, and I remembered that John Robinson had something for me to tell him. I introduced myself, then said, “Jim Robinson had something for me to tell you.” As my mouth was saying it, my mind relayed the fact that I’d gotten John’s name wrong and started screaming Abort mission! Abort mission! –which I did, making me look like a total idiot: “John Robinson told me to tell you something, but uh . . . I forgot what it was.”
The next opportunity I had to talk with him, I was a tad bit calmer. I explained that I’d been in contact with him to use a couple of exerpts from one of his books, that I taught from his Plot & Structure, and that I’d conversed with him on Twitter–because, after all, surely he’d remember me from Twitter (ha ha). I told him that he seemed so much taller than his picture, to which he responded: “Let’s hope so. Everyone should look taller than their Twitter pictures!”
Okay, we got a good giggle about that, but I did manage to get out the quip John had for him, and he laughed.
Next time, I had another of his books with me, The Art of War for Writers, and asked him to sign it. “Sure, Linda. You want me to make it out to you?”
“Please. And thanks for remembering my name!”
“Well, name tags help.”
By the time I was sitting near him at the banquet, I figured I’d made a big enough fool of myself and barely acknowledged his presence. I mean really–who would rather have foot for dinner instead of the scrumptious fare offered by the Hyatt chefs?
More about the Stars of Christian Fiction later. Right now I need to recuperate from disclosing my most awkward conference moments . . .