Star Struck and Stupid

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.

15 thoughts on “Star Struck and Stupid

  1. Oh, that is too funny … you poor thing! Love the picture, by the way! No worries … you've got all the nervous bugs out, you'll do fabulous at SCBWI!

  2. I've so been there. But if you can go to SCBWI, I say go. You may have a few more “incidents,” but really–practice makes better, if not perfect!

    And I'm sure he got it and remembers you being more stable from the workshop! 😉

  3. There will be so many people in worse shape than you at SCBWI, you'll do just fine. And it will give you lots of practice in a practically anonymous atmosphere.

    Maybe we could do lunch or dinner one of the days you're here.

  4. Jen – I hope so!

    Yat-Yee – Theoretically…

    Kelly H-Y – I've got plenty more bugs where those came from!

    PJ – FANtastic, yes, unless you're the embarrassed fan 🙂

    Becky – “Incidents” worry me… 🙂

    Sarah – Dinner would be a good reason to attend. I'll email you 🙂

    Christy – It was very cool that he recognized me. If only I could have held up my end of the conversation!

    Glam – The app is staring at me right now. We'll see…

  5. A few years ago, I met this really awesome literary agent. I interviewed him for a NPR piece. Anyway, I told him I might be inspired to write a novel (I wasn't writing then) and he offered me all his personal contact info and said he was willing to help, and I was like, “No, that's alright.” What was I thinking?!!!

    Now, I'm prepared to turn around at the grocery store or wherever and sell my work to anyone. I bet this experience of yours will bring about a similar determination.

  6. Funny story (and pic)! And great that he remembered you, too!
    So you are going to the SCBWI conference!!!?! I'm so jealous! I hope to go one day. Can't wait to read about it on your blog!

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