"When I was very little -- well, really young. I’ve never been really LITTLE -- I used to love books and I loved the idea of making books. I used to 'write' meaningless squiggles in my dad's old diaries and, hey presto, I had small 'books' with front and back covers. As I got older, these squiggles became words, the words became sentences, the sentences became short stories." --Philip Ardagh
My weekend began like any other weekend...with me catching up on those things that I have left unfinished during the week. The weekend itself was appearing bleak, all I had to look forward to was numerous hours of homework, and the extra credit course that I signed up for that takes place every saturday for the next 4 weeks. Not very exciting at all?
I attended my class at Lake Forest Park and was excited to find Third Place Books located near my classroom. Of course I found some time to have a look around, though a 10 minute class break really didn't give me the time required for such a feat. By 1pm my class was over and I was rushing to the car when I saw what appeared to be a familiar face? It was a man that greatly resembled one of my favorite authors; Philip Ardagh. He was even carrying a backpack with one of the characters from his books; the Dickens trilogy. What a coincidence.
But what would Mr. Ardagh be doing here in Seattle, many, many miles from his home in England? I assumed it couldn't be him and headed home. About 30 minutes later I thought about the encounter that never occurred, and rushed to the computer in seach of information. Wouldn't you know it? It was him and he was doing a book signing at Third Place Books! It seems strange that they didn't have any signs announcing it in the store...or maybe I was too occupied scanning the aisles of books to notice.
I called the store and found out that he was leaving the store in 15 minutes! 15 MINUTES! (The shop assistance was more than helpful in asking if I would like her to get me an autograh, just in case I missed him). So I gathered my 6 books and flew out of the house, driving like a crazy woman, trying my best to get to the store in time. I am sure I broke every traffic law in Seattle but I made it there in the nick of time. Philip was standing outside the store, getting ready to head back to England.
I must say that I did feel a little awkward at first, going up to a complete stranger, especially being that it was getting late and he had a plane to catch.
I would find out later that the sales person informed Philip that I was on my way. Rather than think that I was a crazy person, or likely to win a 'Best Stalker' award, Philip was overjoyed that I had made such an effort to meet him. What a wonderful down-to-earth human being he is, all 6 ft 7 inches, which makes me seem like a child standing next to him with my mere 5 ft 3 inch frame. He escorted me to his book signing desk, and proceeded to sign all six of my first edition copies. I must say that it was just like sitting down for tea and scones with a dear old friend. A very, very tall, dear old friend.
Until next time...
"In Philip Ardagh fiction, Eddie is certainly not in control," he says. "I think children suddenly realise that the world is run by adults, and the secret is, adults don't know what they're doing, and what you take to be normal is just what's normal in your house." --from a Guardian (UK) interview.