Saturday, January 2, 2010

Warning: People In Mirror May Not Be As Fabulous As They Appear

(Because some people lose their you-know-what from time to time.)

I heart children's books. Heart them. As many of you may already know, I have an obsession (read: spending problem) when it comes to Barnsey. However, what I may not have admitted to you thus far, is that obsession, compulsion, that need to sit for hours with books and then spend ridiculous amounts of money is doubled, no tripled, is impossible to ignore when it comes to the children's section.

Oh how I loves me a good picture book.

Fortunately Mr. Mimi also loves Barnsey (read: is afraid to leave me there alone and unsupervised?). We can spend an afternoon there. Usually it starts with us drooling over travel books together but eventually we'll go our separate ways to browse.
Nervously (eyes darting furtively to the children's section, trying to determine if the display in the middle is chock full of shiny new books...he knows my penchant for all things shiny and that I'm a sucker for things marketed on fancy display tables) he'll ask, "Where are you going to be?" I usually say something non-committal like, "fiction" and saunter off in a direction designed to throw him off my trail. As soon as he is engrossed in a book about war/finance/business, I dart into the children's section.

Is it me, or is the air fresher over there?

You would think my problem would be improving what with not being in the classroom this year. And for awhile, it was better. I would glance longingly toward the back of the store where the table of Junie B. Jones books shone like a beacon, but had no rationale of an upcoming unit on rocks/friendship/outer space to fall back on. However, the promise of a baby has now thrown me back into children's book obsession by allowing me to explore the wonderful world of board books. (And of course, stash away shiny new picture books for someday, because someday will be here before we know it, right? RIGHT?)
And when did Jan Brett, Kevin Henkes, Mem Fox start reprinting their brilliance in a board book? How did I miss THAT? And OMG, hold the phone, shut the front door....is that a Bryan Collier in the baby section?

THE Bryan Collier?? Illustrator? Genius? Guy who came to my apartment one day and I fell over myself and generally acted like a star-crazed idiot????

Yes, evidently it is that Bryan Collier. (P.S. - I added some Bryan Collier genius to my sidebar children's book thingy-majig.) (P.P.S. - Am now questioning my spelling of the word "thingy-majig".) (P.P.P.S. - Writing about Bryan Collier fits in beautifully with NaBloPoMo's January theme of the BEST because he is. Gotta work the theme, friends, gotta work the theme.)

Here he is:


And here is some of his genius:


Have I never told you the story of the time I lost my cool (read: shit) when Bryan Collier magically showed up at my door? Okay, maybe it wasn't totally magic that brought him to my door. Maybe it was a bit more of me living with his sister-in-law, but whatever. Potatoe, potato.

Scene: My old apartment (picture fabulous NYC shabby). Three room-mates are mid regular old Saturday afternoon stuff, dressed in our Saturday afternoon I'm-hung-over-and-can't-possibly-change-out-of-my-pajamas finest.

There is a knock at the door. (Yeah, no doorman for Mrs. Mimi...teacher's salary people, teacher's salary.)

Foolishly (and because my bedroom was closest to the door) I answer the door in all my Saturday glory. Standing before me is none other than Bryan Freaking Collier. The guy whose book Uptown has been lovingly used in my classroom so many times that it has earned a coveted spot in the "Mrs. Mimi's favorites" bucket. The guy whose illustrations have inspired so many art creations in my classroom. The guy who is standing in front of me and saying something but I can't quite understand him because he is BRIAN FREAKING COLLIER.

Me: What? (So cool, so very very cool.)
Him: Is Roomy home?
Me: Uhhhhh, yes?
Him: Can I come in?
Me: Uhhhh, yes?
Him: (pausing) Now?
Me: Uhhhh, yes?

He gives me an awkward look, steps around me and comes in. I realize that I am acting like A TOTAL LOSER so I try to pull it together and say something fabulous. Something brilliant. Something that will make him remember me.

Instead, this comes out:

"OH MY GOD I LOVE YOUR BOOKS! I LOVE EVERY SINGLE ONE! YOU ARE LIKE MY FAVORITE ILLUSTRATOR EVER. MY KIDS LOVE YOUR BOOKS TOO! NOT MY KIDS MY KIDS, I DON'T HAVE KIDS, I MEAN NOT YET AT LEAST. I'D LIKE TO HAVE KIDS. SOMEDAY. I MEAN, MY KIDS, MY STUDENTS. THEY LOVE YOU. WE LOVE YOU. I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'RE IN MY APARTMENT AM I STANDING TOO CLOSE TO YOU RIGHT NOW?????"

Seriously.

Oh, I think he'll remember me alright.

However, in his infinite fabulousness, Bryan Collier smiled. At me. He smiled at me and then he pulled out a stack of books and said:

"Roomy said you were a fan of my work. I'm really flattered and glad you feel like you can use them in your classroom. I brought a few books over for you. I signed them. I hope you like them."

At this point, you may be thinking that I just fell over. Or passed out. Or exploded or something. But no, I actually did pull it together (somewhat...I mean, as much as someone can with bed hair and pajamas). I thanked Bryan Collier, took the books and asked him if he'd like something to drink since Roomy was still in the shower. Perhaps he thought about making a run for it (you know, to get away from the crazy lady?), but instead he said no problem, asked for a glass of water and we ended up having a lovely chat.

And that, my friends, is how I met Bryan Collier.

BOOYAH!

(Post number two, check! Someone pass me a Sharpie...oh, wait, I've got one right here. ALWAYS.)

8 comments:

Janet Nordfors said...

You crack me up! I once was "accidentally" placed in 3 (out of 4) of Jack Gantos' workshops at a conference here in Maine. By the third one I had to put sunglasses on and hope he didn't notice me sitting in the same spot swooning over the same excellent stories he'd told in the first two sessions. On my way out I told him I was not a stalker and my being here was a registration "accident" and I hoped he wasn't too freaked out, but I didn't want to embarrass the organizers by pointing out their "mistake." I can't imagine what I would have done if he'd shown up at my apartment door!

Shana said...

You absolutely crack me up. How funny. I would die to meet a favorite author or illustrator too.

KCL said...

Only a superior teacher would be star-struck over an author - brava! That story is adorable. I use picture books quite a bit in middle school, and am always surprised when anyone thinks that's odd. I go into B&N with the self-control of a junkie. Yeah.

AverageMom said...

I'm afraid of what might happen if I ever met Graeme Baese. Do you have his books? They are AMAZING!!!

Rebecca said...

Run. Do Not Walk to the Children's Section and get Sandra Boyton's Moo Laa Baa Laa Laa. Babies love it. And, added bonus, it helps develop phonemic awareness. BOOYAH! ;)

Diane/2nd said...

I share the book obsession. Chicken Spaghetti has their "Best Children's Books of 2009: The Big List of Lists" post. Talk about killing with kindness. Do we say "thank you" or slap the laptop shut and hope the post gets deleted?

http://bit.ly/394A2R

English Teacher said...

Ms. Mimi,

I was so happy last year, late into 2009, when I discovered your blog. Every post makes me feel a little more normal. I love to buy books for my classroom and my students, organization is my middle name and I abhor the "bacon hunters" of the world. Thank you for showing me that I am not alone.
All the best in 2010.
Beth

ChiTown Girl said...

This made me laugh so hard, mostly because it sounds EXACTLY like something I would do!!

Happy New Year!

Who's Peeking?