With so much angst in the inner circles of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, it is easy to forget how much books mean to so many people.
When I heard that Catherynne M. Valente would be in Lexington in support of her Fairyland series, I asked my daughter if she would be interested in going. I know Kid #1 loves books with strong female protagonists, and when she read the synopsis of the first book, she became excited and said she definitely wanted to attend.
I would be going anyway, as Cat Valente and I have known each other for a long time (I’ve published her a number of times, and most importantly, Cat is a former editor-in-chief of Apex Magazine). I’d not seen her in a few years and wanted to say hello. But being able to take my kid would vault the experience from being a cool reunion to a father/daughter memory.
We take our seats and the lady of the hour arrived. The woman in charge of running the children’s reading program at Joseph-Beth tried to introduce Cat several times—each time interrupted as she couldn’t hold back the tears. Finally, Cat stood and gave the lady a warm embrace. The woman was a huge fan and shared how much her books (both Cat’s YA and adult titles) meant to her. I’m a rather emotionless beast, but even this warmed my cold heart a degree or two.
The waterworks ended, and Cat read a chapter from book five of the Fairyland series. The lady knows how to pen a sentence.
After the reading, the kids in the audience went on a Fairyland scavenger hunt. Cat signed books. Several people in the line around me were quite nervous about meeting Cat Valente. Heck, I even felt it a little. For them, her works had meaning to them beyond entertainment value. They were there for their children, or perhaps Catherynne’s books spoke to them in a personal way, or simply they liked signed books. Value comes in many forms.
I had my stack of books signed. I had a nice brief chat with Cat. We took a photo together.
I ran into Christopher Rowe making crafts under the harsh reprimands of Gwenda Bond. Those two are comedy gold.
Kid #1 and I finally go home. She’s excited about jumping into the Fairyland series. She asks me if I will read it with her.
So the rest of y’all can go back to insulting one another on Facebook and Twitter. I’m going to be reading a book with my daughter.