(Note (8/30/2011): When I publish new posts, I find myself unable to resist tinkering with the old ones.  Do you do this, too?  Just changing words here or there, reshaping the sentences?  This is why a lot of writers hate blogging, I think.  Because nothing ever has to be “finished.”  I’ve always wanted to create a writer character who breaks into libraries late at night, rips pages from his books, slashes out sentences, never able to let the story stand still.  This is sort of what it feels like for me as a blogger, this constant revision, without all the hassle excitement of breaking and entering.  And the worst part is I’m pretty sure I don’t make anything better.  But anyway, I’ve decided that if I’m going to come snooping around with my little flashlight after the fact, I’ll at least leave some record of what I’ve changed, with slashes or different colored text.  I’m not sure why, other than it might be interesting to observe over time.  Hopefully it’s not distracting.  Now onto the story.  Sorry.)

Fun little story.  On my original Spaces tour I met a woman named Lynda Barry.  You may’ve heard of her.  She’s a famous writer & artist.  I met her in Eugene, Oregon, where by fate or coincidence we both happened to be on the same day.

The specifics are relevant; I met her for (I would estimate) six seconds.  So really, I “met” her.  I encountered her.  I was crossing the street.  A Honda pulled up.  She was in the passenger seat.  I recognized her (I’d just seen a poster advertising her event) and, in a frantic whir, passed a postcard into her car. 

End of scene.

I drove south to California, and across the rest of the country.  

Now flash forward 18 months. 
Eighteen months later, I’m working a book event for (you guessed it) Lynda Barry.  Obviously she doesn’t remember me, but that doesn’t matter.  I’m not going to waste time bringing it up.  All I really want is for her to contribute a postcard.

Problem: all my extra postcards are in my carwhich is in the shop.

Solution: I hastily Scotch tape two quarters to a bookmark.  I  and draw a quote bubble from George Washington’s mouth explaining the project.  “And here’s money for postage,” he says.

Normally I have plenty of time to chat with the authors after the event, but her signing line is HUGE, meaning I have about six additional seconds to give her this weird taped bookmark before I have to leave and hustle back to the bookshop.  Forget it, I think.  Go for it.  Forget it.  Go for it. 

I decide to go for it.  

“Hey,” I say, “this is random, but I’m doing this project in memory of…”

“Wait,” she says, “I know you!”

“Yeah, we met in Oregon almost two years ago.  Sort of.”

“Right, the big postcard.  I had it in my purse for months.  It got all bent up.  I kept trying to think what to write but then I guess I just lost it.  Sorry!”

“Well I have this bookmark here, it explains it all over again.”

“I won’t let you down this time!”


And that’s it.  She went back to autographing books.     

I had a bounce in my step all the next day.   

Such a simple, wonderful thing: to be remembered.      



2 responses to “My Two 6-Second Encounters with Lynda Barry (UPDATED)”

  1. Emily says:

    awesome story!

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