I have met and had conversations with many more. I'm sure Robert B. Parker, Sue Grafton, Lee Childs, and dozens more, had no memory of me once our conversation ended.
Was that name dropping? Well, this is going to be a blog about name dropping.
I often wonder why the near misses are the encounters I remember.
When I was newly married I worked on Cape Cod, an hour's ride from home. One of the people I worked with suggested we get our Christmas tree off her land. She had a stand of lovely cedars just the right size. Once we had chosen the tree and cut it she admitted that maybe we had crossed the line onto Kurt Vonnegut's place and actually stolen the tree from him.
One day walking past the Harvard Museum, I passed a man, clearly a professor, talking to parents about the use of the internet. This was back when I was doing my first draft longhand and my second on my typewriter. I knew that Stephen Jay Gould had an office in that building. I gobbled up his magazine columns and owned at least one of his books. I convinced myself that this man who was struggling to be kind to parents, was in fact SJG.
When I was in college I lived in Maine. I was in graduate school when my father died in a Maine hospital. Some years later I found out that at the time an unpublished Stephen King worked in the laundry in that hospital. Did he wash my father's sheets?
My favorite radio host keeps mentioning places on the air that are close enough for me to walk to. I know he is from around here and maybe lives here now, or his family does. Since he is a radio host all I have to go on is his professional photo, so I am sure I wouldn't recognize him in a restaurant or bicycling by my house.
When I joined Sisters in Crime, they sent me a list of mystery writers by zip code. I was able to track most of them down, but there was one I couldn't find no matter what. Charles Todd seemed not to exist at all. There was a perfectly good reason for that. It took me years to solve the mystery. Turns out CT is a mother and son writing team and neither bore the name Charles Todd. I did in fact track them down, and become friends.
Funny that I have saved up these near brushes with fame. I imagine everyone has them. I'd love for you to tell me some of yours.