Our family went out for lunch yesterday to a café we don’t usually visit. We ordered our food and my husband took the kids to find a seat. I waited at the counter for my iced tea. As I turned around to join my family, I came face to face with Gerald DiPego.
Even if you’re not familiar with his name, you know his work. He has written five novels including “Cheevy” and “Keeper of the City”. His screenplays include The Forgotten with Julianne Moore, Instinct with Anthony Hopkins, Message in a Bottle with Kevin Costner and Phenomenon with John Travolta. Yeah. He’s pretty big time.
I took a workshop with Gerald a couple years ago and I appreciated his quiet sense of humor, his wealth of knowledge and his gentle guidance. He lives here in the Santa Ynez Valley with his wife who is a brilliant artist. They’re the perfect couple: talented, generous, unassuming.
Anyway, Gerald remembered me from class and asked if I was still writing. You’d think I could string together two sentences, tell him what I’ve been doing, thank him for the nudge he gave me. But no. That only happens to people in books. Real life isn’t nearly as impressive.
I stuttered, I blushed (He remembered me! Of course I blushed!) I mumbled an embarrassed yes. LAME! After we said goodbye I immediately started kicking myself. Why didn’t I mention my novel winning 3rd place in a contest? Why didn’t I mention I was submitting? Why didn’t I ask a word of advice? Why did I stare and blush until the man had to turn his attention away from my adoring face?
Now I’m really not sure if I should send in my registration for SCBWI. It’s bad enough to make a fool out of myself on a small scale. But with that many people around to go fangirl on, I just don’t know.