The Great Midwest Trip: Airports and Authors
People tell you to travel and expand your mind. Until you actually expose yourself to new places, meet different people and face all sorts of different situations, you’re really quite limited as a creative individual.
I grew up in Manila and I firmly believe when I moved to the U.S. it changed me for the better. When you move from a town with a homogenous population to one as diverse as the Bay Area, your horizons expand. I thought a continental move across the Pacific Ocean meant this particular trip to the Midwest really wouldn’t surprise me that much but I’m happy to report, I was wrong. The following series of posts are notes and advice I thought of as a result of my week-long trip.
Always give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport.
I fly all the time. Every four years, I fly back to the Philippines and I’ve always abided by this rule. Maybe it’s because I was travelling with N this time around *ahem ahem* and he forgot to mention the complicated parking situation at LAX. This was the first time I almost missed a flight so closely! It was scene after scene straight out of a disastrous holiday movie.
Our bags were tagged LATE with bold judgmental yellow tags and the attendant informed us our luggage may not even arrive on the plane with us, which would ruin our plans later that day. From the shock of hearing this news, we forgot to pick up our boarding passes and had to print them out again. After finally making it through the security line, we RAN to the gate, making it just before they closed the doors. All the other passengers had boarded and the crew knew our names which meant they had probably been paging us to hurry our butts up. It was awful. I felt my mom give a disapproving glare from miles away.
You can put people at ease by being interested in them.
We talked to a lot of people on this trip. N was checking out several universities he got in to for creative writing. Attending events with faculty members, current students in the programs and prospective students meant I needed to be constantly on my best sociable behavior.
I consider myself a total introvert so all this talking made me incredibly nervous. I’m finally getting the hang of it, I think. If you can get people to talk more about themselves, the conversation flows better so I try to ask open-ended questions. Of course, knowing this doesn’t necessarily make me an expert at actually doing it. Unfortunately, that still needs much more work!
But hey, I can’t believe I got a chance to talk to literary superstar Edith Pearlman as well as Babymouse author Jennifer Holm. Both were brief encounters but I’m happy to have connected with such talented and prolific writers.
At Purdue University in Indiana, I mustered up the courage to thank Edith for a wonderful reading of two stories from her award-winning book Binocular Vision. I even remembered talking to her at the house party afterwards about manga and graphic novels. She looked at me like I was from outer space but I’m tickled pink I got to do it. XD
Jennifer gave a children’s literature talk at the University of Ann Arbor in Michigan and it was a blast! She was so much fun. I don’t usually ask questions at Q&A’s but she was so warm and approachable, I felt comfortable enough to do so. I even approached her after the talk (with some insistence from N, of course. My shyness still gets the better of me.) I’m hoping to meet her again at TCAF next year. Funny, engaging creative people are the best because they radiate so much positive energy as I’ve mentioned before.
Next post will be about remembering people’s names and faces and a little bit of magic!