Surreal

by Lorna's Voice

surreal The dictionary defines “surreal” as “having the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream; unreal; fantasy-like.” I imagine lots of people have had those types of experiences while under the influence of certain substances, while in a deeply profound state of meditation, in the throes of passion, or during some life-altering experience. Like death.

Totally surreal, Dude. And this might fit all of the categories mentioned.

Totally surreal, Dude. And this might fit all of the categories mentioned.

I just had a surreal experience. And it wasn’t during a situation as dramatic as any of the above. I was at my first public event to promote my memoir: a book reading and signing. Even though the weather was horrible, the attendance was surprisingly large. There were people I knew and people I didn’t. And everyone clapped at the end of the reading.

Okay, so there weren't quite that many people and, because the weather was rather foul, people were dressed more casually. But the applause was just as enthusiastic.

Okay, so there weren’t quite that many people and, because the weather was rather foul, people were dressed more casually. But the applause was just as enthusiastic.

But that’s not the surreal part. I was sitting at a desk and a line formed. People had purchased copies of my book and wanted me to autograph them. I asked their name and signed each book.

Okay. So I'm not some older white guy and, again, there weren't that many people waiting in line, but I was at a table, I was autographing books, and there was a line.

Okay. so I’m not some older distinguished-looking white guy with a goatee, and, again, there weren’t that many people waiting in line. But I was at a table, I was autographing books, and there was a line.

But that’s not the surreal part.

A waif of a young woman (maybe a college student, maybe a high school senior), handed me her copy of my book. She was so timid that she barely could look me directly in the eyes.

“And to whom to should I make this out?” I asked.

“Ava,” she said. “Is that with an ‘A’ or and “E’?” I wasn’t sure; she spoke so softly.

“A. V. A.” She spelled it out for me. “That’s a beautiful name,” I said as I was signing her book.

“Oh, thank you.” “There you go.” I handed the book back to her, and saw others still in line waiting for my autograph.

“Um. I’m trying to work on writing a novel,” she offered tentatively. “Oh, really? Good for you! How far along are you?”

“Just beginning. I really don’t know what I’m doing and I’m really not sure if my writing is any good.” She was looking at me now with eyes that were filled with an odd concoction of admiration and trepidation. It was as if she was speaking to someone important–someone accomplishedsomeone she aspired to be.

She wears her success well, eh? I don't plan a sequel to my memoir. Well, maybe in 20 years or so, but maybe my next book will lend itself to a series. You never know...

She wears her success well, eh? I don’t plan a sequel to my memoir. Well, maybe in 20 years or so, but maybe my next book will lend itself to a series. You never know…

“I know the feeling, Ava. I wasn’t sure, either. I don’t know if any writer ever really is. Just write from your heart.”

She nodded and smiled a shaky smile. “Also, this center is doing a workshop this summer for aspiring authors. Check it out. And have faith in yourself.”

“Thank you so much. I really loved your presentation.”

“Thanks so much, and thank you for coming tonight.”

And that’s when things got surreal. I viewed the room, the scene, from outside of myself–seeing a popular author sitting at a table, with a line of people waiting for her to autograph her book. But that author was me. Now that, my friends, was surreal.

Have you ever had a moment like this? A moment when you knew that you transcended to “writer” or “author?”

Yes! A watershed moment such as this with a truly inspirational teacher...or something like that.

Yes! A watershed moment such as this with a truly inspirational teacher…or something like that.

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12 Responses to “Surreal”

  1. and you justly deserve it…

  2. Thanks so much! I don’t feel like I deserve, but it sure was a great experience! 🙂

  3. I really like those kind of experiences. You bet you will be that author!

  4. I could only dream of such an experience, but you lived it and like a commenter said ‘justly deserved it’. Sharing your writing with the world in the from of a book especially can give one a bad case of the jitters, in the end even if one isn’t a NYT best seller, it’s still a beautiful thing!

    • Thanks, Devina. What matters most to me is that my book gets out there and maybe has a positive effect on people’s lives. I’m not looking for either fame or fortune–I just want to feel like I’m still contributing the well-being of the world that I still occupy. 🙂

  5. That is a wonderfully fulfilling feeling.
    I think the best for me is when people have become fans and written to compare my books favourably with the ‘greats’ of fantasy. Only trouble is it hasn’t happened often enough! 🙂

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