|Linda Sue Park at the 2007 Texas Book Festival. Isn't her book cardigan fabulous?|
Landon is Korean, but spent most of his younger years in Canada, so he's native-like in English. I started babbling at top speed about how great it is to meet authors, they are my rock stars, etc. Landon asked me how many I'd met. I said that Krys Lee was my third author.* He wanted to know who the other two were. I said Tobias Wolff and Larry McMurtry. Landon didn't know those authors. I briefly explained.
Then Pieter asked Landon if he'd met any other authors. Good question. It would never have occurred to me to ask. I mean, this is a middle school kid, right? I'd been planning to ask Pieter how many authors he'd met, but I confess that I would have skipped over Landon with nary a thought. Sometimes I fear that I'm turning into the sort of asshole adult I held in contempt as a child.
Landon said, "A writer came to my school last year. I can't remember her name, but she wrote a book called A Single Shard..."
I gasped. "OH! MY! GOD! LINDA SUE PARK! YOU GOT TO SEE LINDA SUE PARK."
Landon said, "Yes, that was her name."
"I LOVE LINDA SUE PARK!" I tried to take the squee coming out of me down a notch. The taxi driver was looking worried or pissed, or both. "I love her! I love A Single Shard! I teach her books! In my Children's Lit class! She was here? In Seoul?"
Landon clarified that it was an international school in a city very close to Seoul, and not too far from where I now live. Same subway line, as a matter of fact.
"Oh! I want to meet her!" I could feel myself wanting to behave in a way that would make me seem much younger than Landon. I was on the verge of howling and throwing a tantrum like the one I threw at the age of six when my parents went off to the movies to see Bonnie and Clyde and left me with the babysitter: But I looooooooove Bonnie and Clyde! I have to go with you! I won't be scared of all the blood, I promise!
A few hours later, I was finally home from Seoul and could smite my forehead in peace. I had known for a while that Linda Sue Park had a web page, but I'd never visited it. I visited it right then and there. Surprise! She has a blog, too. I scrolled down, down, down and finally found this entry.
The forehead-smiting began in earnest. February! My vacation month! What was I doing? I really don't remember, but I'm almost positive that it rhymes with "duck call"! Hundreds of hours of messing around on the internet in my pajamas and I never once thought of going to Linda Sue Park's page. One lousy little click. One measly little subway ride and I could have seen her and told her how happy I am that I discovered her books and thank her for writing them.
Come back to Korea, Linda Sue Park. Please. If you show up in Korea during the winter again, I'll slide up and down icy mountains on my backside just to meet you. If the semester has started, I'll beg one of my coworkers to substitute for me. I'll even cut work, as a last resort, or bring all the English majors with me on the subway. Since I've been reading your blog regularly now, I know you're off to Australia and Indonesia. Have a great time...and maybe you could consider a side trip here?
*Not an accurate count. In my excitement, I forgot William Stafford, Joseph Bruchac and Harlan Ellison.