Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Met Margaret Atwood Today!

A funny thing happened on what began as just another regular afternoon at the library - I met one of the most-honoured authors of fiction in recent history. I met legendary Canadian writer Margaret Atwood.

Here's how it all happened...

When I got to the library around 2:30pm, I saw a poster ad for her event - to be held on the second floor in the same building later that night. Not thinking much of it, I went about doing my research for my paper for the next 4 hours.

Around 6:30pm I was already feeling drained and tired and I was so ready to go home. Walking towards the exit I passed by the ad again.
I stopped and said to myself, "Oh why not, I'll go. It's free anyway. "

When I got to the library's auditorium there were already a lot of people there. I think close to 200 or so. There was also a bar set up at the back of the room serving free champagne, coffee, and other drinks. I still regret not getting any. Darn it.

At 7:00 PM the event started. The event was hosted by award-winning Canadian journalist and author Ian Brown. It was an hour-long sit down interview. Margaret Atwood talked about her literary works, her early life, and even spoke about how tech-savvy she was, mentioning her blog, and even joking with Ian Brown about how she enjoys tweeting on her very own account.

After the interview, members of the audience were allowed to ask her questions. They asked her opinion about the recent American election, her writing routine, her stance on feminism, the environment, Canadian youth, and even the one thing she would bring on a deserted island.

On the deserted island question, she chose "Robert Baden-Powell" -- founder of the Scout Movement. She said she chose him so that she wouldn't have to worry about surviving - since he's going to do all the work for her. =)

She also gave some great advice to young writers and bloggers:
  • Just write. Put it out there. Somewhere out there are your ideal readers.
  • You cannot control how your readers will interpret your writing.
  • You can't know how your writing will affect them.
  • Even if you don't know who's going to read it, just keep on writing.
After the event was over, we were told that Ian Brown and Margaret Atwood would stay to do some book signings. I figured since I've already stayed this long I might as well stay for this one too.

At the back of the room they set up a long table where Ms. Atwood would sign autographs for the people who brought and bought copies of her book. Ian Brown was also there, talking to some of the people, having his photo taken, and even signing copies of his books. I only had one shot to take a picture with him since he was about to leave. I'm so glad it turned out perfect.

The lineup was long and two of her assistants was helping her along. She signed book after book and took photos with some of the people. I wasn't even in the line. I was just standing near the table taking photos of her signing her books.

After seeing it slowly dwindling down, I went to the back of the line and grabbed the program pamphlet they provided and asked her to sign it. I gotta admit I was nervous. I think I stuttered when I introduced myself. She signed the pamphlet and one of her assistants finally took our photo.

CLOSING THOUGHTS: Meeting Margaret Atwood was pretty surreal. It's quite an experience actually meeting the person most people only get to read about in textbooks. It's even more amazing that this wonderful experience almost didn't happen for me.

There are certain moments in life I like to call "Oh why not! moments."
Whenever a situation or opportunity presents itself and gives you the chance to step out of your comfort zones, I suggest you grab it and say... "OH,WHY NOT!"

Because you just never know what unforgettable things you'll get to experience or who you'll get to meet along the way.

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