I have been touched by Judy Blume

This weekend was Book Expo America (BEA) weekend here in NYC. Many booksellers, librarians and authors trekked to our fair metropolis to see what’s coming out from publishers, grab galleys and free stuff, and just generally have a good time.

Thursday night, my husband, Barry Goldblatt, kicked things off with a dinner out with some of his clients–cassandraclare, lizbraswell, and jbknowles. (Holly Black couldn’t make it.) Also there was Book Goddess literaticat (Jenn); Super-librarians Jen Hubert, Angie Benedetti, and Brenna Sparks. Cassie’s boyfriend, Josh, and the wonderful Eddie Gamara, our film agent at the Gotham Group, rounded things out. Much chips and guacamole were consumed. We all shouted over the din to be heard. Jokes were told. Discussions were had. Did I mention there was guacamole? Heaven.

Finally, at 11:30 p.m., I had this terrible realization: I have to emcee the children’s book breakast at 8:00 a.m., and I still am not entirely sure what I’m going to say. Kind of like being all warm and cozy and being shoved into a cold shower. “Barry,” I said in a tone of voice usually reserved for impending ER visits or “what’s that smell?” discussions. “We have to go home. I have to write stuff. Amusing, entertaining stuff. I don’t feel amusing and entertaining. I feel Belly Full of Starch Must Go Night-Night Now. Help. Help. Norman! Norman!” (That last bit is for you Star Trek fans among us.)

So we go home and I stare at my computer for another hour until Barry physically pries my fingers from the keys and makes me go to bed.

At 5:00 a.m., I woke up in a stone cold panic. I padded down to the living room and tried to think of smart things to say. One of my favorite lines from “Spinal Tap” kept popping into my head: “There’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” It’s amazing how spectacularly unclever one can be at 5:00 in the morning on only four hours of sleep. German Expressionist art is funnier than I am at that hour.

Feeling close to vomitng with fear, I jumped in the shower, found clothes that matched (Why are there no adult Granimals? You know, those kiddie clothes with the matching tags?) and grabbed my only comfortable pair of heels. (I did not get the high-heel gene, sadly.) The car showed up at 6:45 and drove us into Manhattan and to the ginormous Javitts Center, which, much to my dismay, was not terribly air-conditioned. (I will break into a sweat if you show me a postcard of Florida, so I’m just saying.) My panic isn’t at full boil yet, but it’s rising. Oh baby, is it rising. Then I pass the room where the breakfast is being held. It’s the size of an airplane hangar and there’s a Jumbotron screen. And people. Lots and lots of people. Gulp. Now I’m hitting the phase where I’m smiling like a happy robot but I’m close to needing a Depends.

I wait in the green room with Mo Willems (who is lovely and funny and, fortunately, somebody I know) and his equally delightful wife, Cheryl. Mo tries to make me feel better by making me laugh and handing me a joke he got from Dave Barry in case I bomb. Then Jacqueline Wilson and Daniel Pinkwater come in. I’m on a couch with Mo Willems, Daniel Pinkwater, and Jacqueline Wilson. Aaaaaahhhhhh!!! Fan girl moment! Fan girl moment!

Fortunately, the breakfast went well–it was great to hear everyone speak so eloquently and humorously about writing for kids and for teens. Mo taught us all how to draw his famous pigeon. And I didn’t screw it up, as far as I know.

Once that was out of the way, I could walk the floor and grab some freebies myself. I hit the DC Comics booth and collected some pins. Got a Hot Wheels poster and some graphic novel ARCs for the boy. Scored a Bart Simpson fan for myself (soooo helpfpul in that heat). Caught up with Rachel Cohn, who is back on the East Coast for a nanosecond and who looked gorgeous. (Note to self: stop making snarky comments about yoga from the couch while mainlining tortilla chips.)

I had lunch with the fabulous Shannon Hale and her five-month-old baby, Maggie, whom I wanted to steal. Shannon has two books out right now–The Book of a Thousand Days and Austenland, and I can’t wait to read both. The only bummer that afternoon was that I wasn’t able to hook up with my friend Jane from London who was here on business. (Jane was my first friend in NYC when I moved here four million years ago.) Our cell phones kept crapping out. I guess that just means I have to go to London to see her, right? 🙂

Day #2

The morning started with speed-dating with booksellers. Yes, you can condense your entire plot into a 3-minute pitch. I know, for I have now done it at 21 tables. It was the easiest dating I’ve ever done–and not one bookseller said, “Hey, you’ve got a nice personality, but I think we should just be friends.”

I had lunch with my truly wonderful editor, Wendy Loggia. We ate hush puppies and just took a break from the Javitts center, and then we came back for an autographing. I had the good fortune of sitting next to David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, and they were signing like mad, and I can’t wait to read their new book, too. (The much-awaited sequel to the excellent Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.)

After that, there was a Random House party at the Top of the Rock (30 Rockefeller Plaza). It’s 68 stories up, and you can see the whole city from up there. Oh. My. God. Pinch me. I took lots of pictures so I could pretend it was my apartment later. Actually, once I figure out this whole uploading to LJ thing, I’ll post them so you can see.

I got to meet Marcus Zusak, Jerry Spinelli, Jerry Pinkney, Leonard Marcus, Michael Scott, and…(wait for it) JUDY BLUME!!!!

I sat next to Judy Blume. Her shoulder touched my shoulder. I said, “I just love you,” about 4,000 times, and no doubt, the world’s most famous YA author now thinks I’m an unbalanced stalker. I wanted to shout out, “Are you there, God? It’s me, Libba. Thank you for this moment!!!!” Judy Freaking Blume, people!!! OMG. She is the nicest, most down-to-earth, loveliest person. And I am never washing my left shoulder again.

I really enjoyed getting to chat with Michael Scott, author of The Alchemyst. He’s from Dublin, so for the first five minutes he spoke, I just smiled and nodded and wanted to say, “You talk pretty. Talk some more.” Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading his book, too. Marcus Zusak and his wife brought their unbelievably cute spawn, a little girl not quite one yet. She could have asked me for a pony and gotten it.

Did I mention I sat next to Judy Blume?

After the Random House party, I was supposed to make it to David Levithan’s annual karaoke party. You really haven’t lived till you’ve heard him sing Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” Or Gordon Korman singing, “Ziggy Stardust.” Coe Booth belting out “No More Tears.” But honestly? I was wiped out. Being touched by Judy Blume will do that to a girl. It was a great weekend, and I just wanted to take off my high heels, grab a quick burger, wash my face and fall into bed. So I did.

I guess I’ll have to read everyone’s blogs to see what I missed.

129 thoughts on “I have been touched by Judy Blume

  1. Sounds like you had a lot of fun! I …. can’t do this I am officially having a Fan Freakout Fest right now and i feel like such an idiot i mean all i can come up with is “sounds like you had a lot of fun!” after staring at my computer for an hour?!….. ummm sorry I’m composed now… Anyway, I am seriously jealous that you met Judy Blume and I can not wait to read The Sweet Far Thing and see Beauty as a movie! *by the way is there anymore information about that?* 🙂

  2. Judy Blume! wow!
    I remember reading “are you there god, its me margaret” in 3rd grade and my teacher scolding me for reading “inappropriate books”. Since then I love to read controversial things!

  3. Wow.

    Being able to attend events like that is one of the main reasons I’m in library school now (should the author thing not happen as quickly as I like, of course). It sounds like it was super awesome.

    And, seriously, Judy Blume? As long as there is no restraining order involved, having Judy Blume think you are an unbalanced stalker sounds pretty cool to me.

    And I’m glad the breakfast went well, even though it snuck up on you during dinner like that =).

  4. Would You?

    Ms. Bray, Libba, whichever you prefer, i just have to say that you are an amazing author and person. I love your books like there’s no tomorrow. when I look at my shelf, which is filled with my favorite books, two always stand out to me: A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels. I anticipate the day when I can look over, and not only see black/red and blue, but green, also (if the cover that I saw on Amazon.com of The Sweet Far Thing is accurate). Sometimes I just pull out AGATB and flip through its pages, reading over and over again my favorite parts (i’m particularly fond of the Gemma/Kartik parts…hahaha).
    I’m a teen author (never been published, obviously, but as I’ve completed three novels and am working on my fourth, I consider myself an author/writer)and, though inevitably, you are asked this question a million times over by everyone and their grandma (and possibly even their dog), but I was wondering if you might take the time to read a tidbit of my newest book…its a YA fantasy novel, with a somewhat close sense to your work. I intend to market this book when it’s finished (my dad is a professional writer and has the know-how to do it, and i’m learning), and so thought it would be spaztasitc to say something like “has been read by [the fantabulous] Libba Bray, who thinks it is great” (or if you don’t think it’s great, i’d just say, nonchalantly, that you read it).
    anyway, even if you just read the first chapter (or two), i’d praise you even until my grave, and into the afterlife.
    But, of course, I understand if you’re busy. Cannot take up precious SWEET time— it must come out in December, no more putting the release date farther back!
    a fan
    p.s. you wouldn’t be planning any signings in the Utah area, would you????

  5. Darn, I’ve been proven wrong. I heard tales of those Granimals from my mother, but didn’t believe it. Now, I suppose I must accept it as truth.

    Any news on the movie? It’s all I can think about…

  6. dude..

    you touched Judy Blume. (cue sighs) i loveeeee her books. ahh well. i probably wouldn’t have washed my shoulder if sat next to me. actually, i would probably ramble on how i do when i meet someone. you can cue the “Freakkkkk” now. but really. my mouth goes and goes and goes and goes. kinda like this comment. sorry. a chocolate chip cookie is calling me. thanks for updating. i wish i was there.. *funny looking woman comes out saying “Guac? Guacamoleeee? *sniffs* guacamollleeeeeeeee* i love the fact the i live in the desert. tortilla chips, salsa and guac are like are main food groups. haha my teacher didnt know how to spell tortilla. hah. sorry. dude. please come to arizona. we dont have anybody fun here. rawr.

  7. dude..

    you touched Judy Blume. (cue sighs) i loveeeee her books. ahh well. i probably wouldn’t have washed my shoulder if you sat next to me. actually, i would probably ramble on how i do when i meet someone. you can cue the “Freakkkkk” now. but really. my mouth goes and goes and goes and goes. kinda like this comment. sorry. a chocolate chip cookie is calling me. thanks for updating. i wish i was there.. *funny looking woman comes out saying “Guac? Guacamoleeee? *sniffs* guacamollleeeeeeeee* i love the fact the i live in the desert. tortilla chips, salsa and guac are like are main food groups. haha my teacher didnt know how to spell tortilla. hah. sorry. dude. please come to arizona. we dont have anybody fun here. rawr. 0o0o you should get a myspace. then everybody can talk to you even more.

  8. This is a really random question, and feel free to redirect me if you’ve already answered it enough times elsewhere, but do you have any strange quirks or habits while writing?

    I’m starting to work/dabble on writing a novel. In the process, it’s made me more aware of my writing habits and I’ve noticed I have some weird quirks. So now I’m CURIOUS!!1!@1 OMGWTFPOPKORN!@12

  9. Oh. My. God. You. Lucky. Little. I. Wont. Even. Finish. That.
    I’m a fan of a hell of a lot of those and have wanted to meet them ever since ever! You are toooooo cool! Can we change bodies, can we, can we, pleeeeasssee? I’ll be your bestest best friend! CHANGE DAMN YOU! That’s it I’m moving to NY, leaving my thirteen years of Toronto behind! Mwuhahaha! Or, better yet, you come here. You can bunk on my floor next to the drooling thing we call a dog. It’s fun pulling on his tounge as he sleeps. Heehee. He tries to pull it away but he can’t! BAHAHAHAHA!
    Please kill me. I’m dying of the feeling I just got when I read your blog. I mean, all these excellent people cramped together?! That’s better than eating poutine- which is a real compliment from me, woman.
    Right. To sum this all up: You. Are. GOD!

  10. lolz.
    I heart Judy Blume.
    Oh, so much.
    You condensed your plot into three minutes? Any time someone asks me what your book is about I go on a rant about how amazing it is, how creepy it gets sometime, and how I sat down and read the sequel straight through in nine hours.

  11. Sounds like fun! I had a sudden urging for TSFT today, it was rather unexpected and not fun. Also, I just finished my latest book (It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Ned Vizzini; pretty amazing but not too fond of ending) and I need a new book to read. Any suggestions?
    -Alexandra, NJ

  12. Love Judy Blume. I knew most of the author’s you mentioned but sadly, most I didn’t know. I must make an emergency trip to Borders, my nearest bookstore. Finally the school year is almost over. 6 days left. I’ll finally be able to read something that I won’t have to rip apart and explain what each scene means and what each object represents. I love to read and I admire authors but English is not my forte.

  13. nothing to do with anything

    o.k so i’m real sorry cause you probly don’t care but i heard that they were making a movie of a great and terrible beauty and i was really wondering if you though that the actor playing gemma portrays her well. feel free 2 e-mail me at singingfreak334@yahoo.com if you have time.

  14. My one and only

    I cant believe u met Judy blume, i mean i can because ur very talented, but serously, she is the bomb. I remember reading her books when i was 11 yr old, omg that was 11 yrs ago. But tell me was she great or was she incredible, please. At times like this i wish i was a famous author, i mean i cant even write a creative paragraph. Im so extremly envious of you, except for that whole going mad over editing, that really must blow. But Judy Blume, man, she is a legend. I just went to look for my old copy of Are you There God, Its Me Margret. And i found, yes! All the pages are bunny eared over. I think ill make my boyfriend read it, lol.

  15. Beats Florida

    Of course I do not check your LJ until it is too late!!! I am kicking myself right now and found a bruise on my shin I didnt know I had. I am wikid excited for your newest installation of the adventures of Gemma Doyle and her groupies. December 26th??? That makes no sense. Shouldn’t it come out before Christmas? N E Ways. I was in Florida this last week and am completely Disneyed out. We also went on an air boat tour, you know–the “hover craft”–in the swaps–that you see in CSI Miami–and I would highly recommend it. Gators totally whip Mickey any day. There was a thirteen footer that we saw and the driver said that if any of us wanted to pull a Croc Hunter to give him fair warning so he could get his camera. I was tempted–a tiny little bit. But your shoulder rubbing with the stars beats Florida out. I think you just single handedly ruined my vacation. Thanks Alot! JK

  16. WOW! I’m jealous. there are a ton of books i have to look into now. First day of summer means the first day of actually having time to read. Even though this summer is kinda busy for me.
    Reading that blog made me think of the most unrelated topics. Like when you mentioned Hush Puppies, i remembered the Hush Puppy brand shoes me and my sister would get when we were little for special occasions. My mom would take us into a little kid shoe shop in down town boulder to get them. Then when you said Rockefeller Plaza i thought of a song i really like by Rockepella. I could go on with the random thoughts but I’ll spare you.
    Good luck with whatever is going on in your life right now. I’m glad you got to meet Judy Blume. That’s exciting 🙂 Keep being amazing!

  17. brenna?

    people actually have my name??? it seems im always looking for another brenna. yes, we actually exist.
    i just needed to spread the word.
    however, im here leaving a comment to say, i love you libba bray. gemma has infused in my soul, and kartiks face appears everywhere. yes, im a book nerd. but i love it. keep writing, write faster! i NEED the next book. NEED. like an addiction.
    sooooo, whip out your superpowers, and speed-write!!!
    love, brenna.

  18. While I’m sure I would’ve been perfectly thrilled to meet Judy Blume, I’m pretty sure I would’ve wet myself if I’d met Jerry Spinelli. He’s a genius–of the books I read in childhood that changed my life, nearly half of them were his. 🙂

  19. Gordan Korman? Love his Son of the Mob books, hey is he cool or not. Shannon Hale, I hate not living in NYC, green with envy here. Green, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, green. I love Shannon Hale. You’re not bad yourself.

  20. your husbands last name?!

    Your husbands last name is Golblatt?! That has got to be the coolest last name I have ever heard!!

    have fun with that

  21. The Alchemyst

    I just read it and you’ll enjoy it thoroughly! But still looking forward to your 3rd installment and I gave my cousin both of your other books as a graduation present….. She asked me for what I thought was a GREAT read.

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