My second day of BEA was different from the first, but still amazing in so many ways.
Because I know you’re wondering, I won’t make you wait for the free book tally. I got 33 today, bringing the grand total up to 71. (One of my roommates arrived today, and she looked half shocked, half delighted by the giant pile of books gracing the floor of our studio.)
But back to BEA!
The bad: I didn’t get to hear Neil Gaiman speak, I didn’t see Sarah Dessen, and I didn’t get copies of either of their books.
The good: I got really, really close to Neil Gaiman. I touched a lot of signed copies of his books. And I made a lot of people very happy when I handed those books out.
The quality on this photo is not great, but that’s the gentleman himself! (We did get to listen to him speak for a few minutes before we got recruited to stack books. They were a very funny few minutes.)
But I promised you strange conversations. So, without further ado, here they are, proof that human beings are weird and funny and strange:
- The first technically happened before we got to BEA. A whole group of SPI kids (decked out in our neon shirts and carrying empty backpacks to be crammed with books) missed our first bus stop. We had to get off a stop later, and then run back to the previous stop to catch our bus. And a pair of boys on the street mooed at us. They actually mooed. (We might have deserved it, but I still couldn’t stop laughing.)
- We were stacking books outside the Neil Gaiman event, when a member of the press walked up and asked to be let in. She was more than 20 minutes late, and people had been lined up for this event an hour before I’d even arrived to volunteer (they spent at least 3 hours in line). So our boss refused to let her in. Her response: “I can’t believe you’re saying this to me when your industry is dying!”
- After the Gaiman event, we were waiting just outside the door, ready to hand out books. The door flew open, and Neil himself came out of it. And then, the author who writes such eloquent novels and made more than 500 people laugh for an entire hour stopped, looked at us holding mountains of his books, flung out his hands, and cried emphatically, “Books!” Then, just as suddenly, he turned, and disappeared around a corner.
The afternoon was much calmer than the morning, and we were able to sneak upstairs and wander the floor for a bit. Unfortunately, the conference packed up kind of early. It was supposed to go until 4pm, but most of the publishers were packing books away by 2pm. I was sad to see them go. My experience at BEA was amazing, and I’m not quite ready for it to be over.