I assisted Sid Fleischman with a magic trick.
I saw Wilson Rawls give a fascinating talk. My dad escorted him around town and found out that he was quite bitter in regards to Disney's movie version of Where the Red Fern Grows, claiming he never received one lousy cent for it.
I met Paula Danziger and saw her typed and hand-edited manuscript for The Cat Ate My Gym-suit (which I had read in preparation for seeing her talk). I think that was the first time I saw an actual physical connection between an author and that magical finished product!
When my mom mentioned to Gary Paulson that I wanted to be a writer, he signed my book with his home address, inviting me to send him something I'd written (which to my regret, I never did - I was too afraid.)
My dad also likes to tell of one famous children's author - whom I won't name - who asked my dad if he could find him a blond for the night. My dad later went to the school's teacher's lounge and jokingly asked for volunteers.
For some of those authors - like Wilson Rawls - my parents got me excused from class to go see them. I've always been grateful for those experiences. They knew I wanted to be an author, and by bringing me to see those published authors, they showed me that they were basically just regular folks, and it helped take away a little bit of their mystique - showed me that it was certainly a possibility for me to follow that passion. I'll always be thankful for that.
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