Thursday, January 10, 2008

In the Club

I met Amy Tan once, and I suspect we both regret it.

I was in college, and had the opportunity to meet Amy Tan and several other authors I admire at a reception after a charity event. I gathered up the courage to approach her as the reception was winding down. She already had her coat on and purse in hand.

“Amy Tan,” I said, realizing as the words came out of my mouth that I had no idea what to say next. She looked up, and I stared at her like the proverbial deer. “Uh, I loved The Joy Luck Club,” I finally blurted. Internally, I was smacking myself on the forehead like Chris Farley’s talk-show host character (“Idiot! I knew I’d screw up!”) and it just didn’t get any less awkward. We stared at each other for what seemed like an hour. Seeing that I was hopelessly tongue-tied, she politely explained that she was on her way out the door and excused herself. As she hurried away, I realized that I could never, ever again speak to someone I admired.

(I’ve broken my own rule a few times, but only under very controlled circumstances: I stammered a few words to the Indigo Girls at a record-signing event once, and a few months ago I imposed myself on two professional soccer players I met on an airplane. In both cases, though, I had a crush of people behind me that I could count on to literally move me forward if necessary.)

I mention this because I am about to have the opportunity to again rub elbows with Amy Tan. This time it’s in cyberspace. She’s one of the authors included in the Red Room site I mentioned yesterday, and, as of this afternoon, so am I.

I haven’t set up my page yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as I do. I’m very excited about one feature of the site in particular, which, if I've understood correctly, allows you to connect to other writers in the way that MySpace and LinkedIn connect friends. I will let you know if I find the courage to ask any other of the authors to do this.

Let’s hope Amy Tan doesn’t remember that we’ve already met.

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