I met Marian Keyes and said...
...'It's lovely to meet you, I follow you on Twitter.'
Yep that's it.
One of my literary idols had flown half way around the world to meet her fans, delight and entertain and all I can manage is a reference to 'Twitter'. Now Twitter, if I am honest, gives me a bloody headache. Am I the only person who can't seem to follow the cryptic sentences people post? By the time I have decoded a Twit, (as I see them) there are about 10,000 more above it. My eyes start to twitch and I can't think of anything else to do but like everyone's Twits, because I don't want to hurt their feelings, which gives me no time to Twit and by then the whole thing has lost me. Marian is an absolute Twitting goddess (that wasn't meant to sound rude), in fact if it wasn't for her I would probably kick the whole thing to the curb. She is very funny (duh) and post lots of lovely photos of shoes and choccy.
So back to the bookish event and poor Marian, who is now a hostage under some Geneva convention law about funny, talented people being exposed to unfunny, untalented people. I had 15 minutes standing in a queue to get my copy of 'The Break' signed, so you would have thought that a mouthy person like myself could have stewed up something better to say. For example, 'thank you for your inspirational talk' or 'I had no idea abortion was illegal in Ireland, that is shocking' or at least, ' your shoe collection should be protected by the National Trust'....ANYTHING!
I was first blessed with muteness in the presence of greatness, when I had the opportunity to meet Princess Diana on her tour of Australia in 1983. To be fair, I was 12 and a prepubescent hormonal mess. As opposed to now being 47 and a prepubescent hormonal mess but in reverse (I refuse to use the 'M' word on account of my denial issues).
Picture a sunny Brisbane morning on the tarmac at Brisvegas airport. I was swoddled in a yellow drop-waisted dress of flammable fibre content. My mum had taken my brother and I out of school for the day to welcome the most beautiful woman in the world. Dad was in the VIP Protection Unit of the Australian Federal Police (he was James Bond to us or at the very least, Maxwell Smart) and snagged us plum pozzies at the front of the crowd just behind the magic rope. This magic rope was rumoured to prevent Commonwealth subjects infecting the royals with an incurable case of Average Person.
The lack of water or sun-block of any kind were the least of my concerns as my mind raced. What I would say to the real life princess I had watched on the telly drift down the isle at St Paul's on a cloud of ivory?
I think I daydreamed myself into a coma. I didn't realise it at the time but this was the beginning of a life-long condition. If left unattended, my brain hurtles me into all sorts of weird and wonderful scenarios. I may look like I am cutting up carrots for dinner, but I am really backstage at a Pearl Jam concert having a whiskey and getting guitar lessons from Eddie Vedder. I must tell you who I once climbed Mt Kilimanjaro with. Hint: afterwards my legs were Thor.
Meanwhile back on the tarmac.
Princess Di and Prince Charles had appeared from the aircraft and started to make their way down the stairs. Diana wore the most vivid white hat with ostrich feathers and a blue and white dress. Dear darling Dad looking very official at the bottom of the stairs made sure Diana came to our side of the awaiting throng, and before I knew it she was standing directly in front of me.
I can still remember what she said to us as her eyes sparkled against the most beautiful skin I had ever seen.
'Hellew, how aw you awe.'
And I don't mean that in a 'she thought she was better and more posh than us' kind of way. Her friendly approachable manner together with that dazzling smile rendered me speechless. I could see how this worked for her.
Mum was poking me in the back, prodding me to say something, but again NOTHING! It was the first of many occasions in my life where I would kick myself for not saying the thing at the time that I came up with 5 minutes later.
In true princess style Diana kept smiling until some girl next to me decided to be all show-offy and had the audacity to make conversation with the Princess of Wales.
Of course I bawled my eyes out later for being a git. Never, never, never, never, ever again would I miss an opportunity to engage in a witty exchange with someone I had deep and not creepy admiration for.
Re-enter poor Marian Keyes.
So I dumped the steaming-paper-bag-of-turd, Twitter comment fair and square on Marian as I hand her my book to sign and just to recap, because it was so brilliant remember I said,
'It's lovely to meet you, I follow you on Twitter.' (Verbal gold).
And sweet Marian, who must have been a princess in another life says, 'Ooohh it can be a scary and mysterious place. Send me a message and I will follow you back.'
Ashamed and vowing never to do such a disrespectful thing as to ever Twit Marian, I call The Gent (who is rudely interstate on business, like that is more important than waiting for me to get home from seeing Marian), howling again for being the world's biggest idiot.
A week later and on a quiet Sunday morning with a cup of tea and Millicent Olivia Sophia Louise the barkiest, fartiest dog in the world, I finish my personally signed copy of The Break and rest my eyes happily in post coital reflection on the title page (see below for boastful pic).
Against my better judgement I forget that 9:00 am Sunday morning in Melbourne, is happy hour Friday week ago for everyone else, and Twit a thank you to Marian for such a fabulous read.
And wouldn't you know it. Marian not only liked my Twit but she followed me back just like she said she would.
Now I will never, never, never, ever get off bloody Twitter.
You can follow my lunacy @JaquelynMuller or even better, Marian Keyes @MarianKeyes