Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Night with Diana

I have a very small bucket list.  Mainly because I can never seem to find a pen when I want to jot something down that I think I should do.  So it really only contains a few things, like going to Scotland, writing a book, making a successful spongecake...and up until recently, it contained "Meeting Diana Gabaldon" which was actually at the top of the list.

Last night, I crossed it off the list.  (Well, figuratively, still no pens at hand.)  A few months ago the first (and so far ONLY) useful Facebook ad I had ever seen popped up on my newsfeed announcing Diana Gabaldon making an appearance in Portsmouth, NH.  I had been waiting for years, YEARS, for her to make an appearance in New England and since I happened to see that ad before the event sold out, I was able to pick up tickets for myself and my friend Amanda.

If you know me, you will likely have heard me talk about my favorite book series.  I've probably suggested you read them.  And since the show premiered on Starz last fall, I've probably suggested you drop everything and watch it.  I'm passionately in love with these books.  I love the story, I love the history and I love, love, love the characters.  I have read a lot of books (a lot) and very few characters stick with me like Diana's.  I have read the series many, many times and find something new to love every time.  I've read them when I was bored, I've read them when I was happy and I've read them when I was very, very unhappy.  And they never fail to captivate me, usually so much that I am all but useless for the days/weeks it takes me to finish a book or the series.

When I recommended them to my friend Amanda last summer as a good beach read I sent her home with Outlander on a Friday and on the following Thursday when I showed up to work she announced that her husband hated me because she hadn't cooked dinner or done any laundry for the past week because all she had done was read.  I handed her the copy of book two and my deepest apologies to her husband because I knew she would be a goner for the weeks it takes to read all eight books...

So last night Amanda and I took off early from our respective jobs and went to Portsmouth with our copies of Outlander.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner at British Beer Company, visited a cute little Celtic shop and oohed and aahed over the kilt collection and went to the Music Hall with 900 other women to see "Herself" speak.  (Ok, 896 women and 4 men)


(My phone couldn't handle the lights, but that is in fact "Herself" on the stage mere feet away from me)

She is hilarious.  She spent about 30 minutes telling the story of how she came about writing Outlander and began by telling us how she got the football players in her Anatomy and Physiology class to pay attention by announcing a discussion on the history of contraceptives and reciting the following rhyme:

In days of old when men were bold
And condoms weren't invented
We stuck wool cocks upon our cocks
And babies were prevented

That was the general tone for the evening...

After she spoke, a lady from NH PBS interviewed her asking questions about the books, the Starz show and a few audience questions (not my question, unfortunately-I probably put too many hearts on it) about when she is planning on ending the series. (She told the 77 year old audience member to keep taking her vitamins, so I think it might be a while)

After the Q&A, a line formed to have Diana sign books. We had already received a signed copy of her newest paperback so this was an opportunity to have it personalized or have her sign a different book. The line was quite long, but thanks to Amanda (who did NOT cut...merely "merged") we were towards the front and only waited half an hour or so to get her to sign our copies. So much anticipation! In the end I handed my phone off to an "assistant" who took several photos of me while she signed my book.

I feel a poster sized version of this may be necessary.

Our conversation went like this:
Herself: "Hello there (looks at my name on the post it on my book) Kyla, thank you for coming tonight."
Me: "Thank you so much for coming tonight!"
((We smile for my camera, she hands me the book))
Me: "Thank you so much, thanks!"

It was amazing. I seriously floated out of there. While I would have loved to bare my soul to her and tell her how much I love her writing, how important her characters are to me, how many times I've turned to them for escape or comfort of just out of happiness, and how much I just love her...I didn't.

Perhaps next time.... :)

This is me making really creepy eyes at Diana. (I'm so sorry about that Diana, I looked like I was going to eat you.)

This is me watching her write MY NAME on my copy of Outlander!

This is me trying to telepathically communicate with the person holding my phone, "Are you getting this?? She's writing MY NAME!! I'm STANDING NEXT TO DIANA GABALDON!!"

The final product. Pure Awesomeness!

Post signing selfie.