Over the last three years, I have been fortunate enough to meet friends I’ve made online and every single experience has been wonderful. I’m grateful to have been included in communities that foster a love of reading and writing, and the enthusiasm that everyone brings into it has always been one of my favourite things about making friends online. Literature is more of a shared experience than ever before because of the internet, and I count myself lucky to have found that out for myself.
Yesterday, I got to meet Marissa Meyer, author of the fantastic Lunar Chronicles series, for the first time. It was an exciting prospect in itself–meeting authors will never get old because there’s just so much to learn from them. But Marissa and I have also been friends for seven years now, and up until the announcement of her Indigo event, I didn’t think a meetup would be likely for at least a few more years. So huge thank yous to Macmillan, Raincoast Books and Indigo for putting this event together!
You might be wondering why I call this a U_M Girls meetup. Marissa and I met and became friends because of a shared love of the anime series Sailormoon. I discovered a small writing community called Usako_Mamoru back in 2006, which Marissa ran with our mutual friend Jojo. Writing fanfiction about Sailormoon and Tuxedo Mask introduced me to a group of girls who are still my closest friends today, including fabulous bloggers Meghan, Aimee, Sammy, Sam and Jen. Happily, I not only spent my Saturday hanging out with Marissa, but Meghan was able to make a special trip up as well.
One of my favourite things about the U_M girls–as we’ve stylized ourselves–is that it never feels like we’ve only talked online before we actually meet in real life. It’s never awkward, never uncomfortable, and we laugh so much that our faces hurt. Writing and literature come to life for me because of the friendships I’ve made through them, and yesterday was a great example of that.
The event itself was even more amazing than I’d expected, and I’ve been to quite a few epic book signings in the Toronto area. Meghan and I were stunned by the number of people who turned out to see Marissa, and I can’t lie–the words “SO MANY FRIENDSHIP FEELINGS” were uttered a good number of times in two hours. Special shoutout to Andrea, who hung out with us in line and made the wait go by so quickly, we were laughing so much! It was so great getting to see everyone so excited about Cinder and Scarlet and the worlds that Marissa created during a non-stop NaNoWriMo session.
– how Marissa got into the fanfiction community through Sailormoon, and the friends she made there. “I think I just heard Angel laugh!” almost made me and Meghan curl up in the corner of the YA section from laughing.
– dreaming about a cyborg Cinderella, which was the seed for the Lunar Chronicles series;
– her appreciation for NaNoWriMo, and how writing 150,011 words while going to grad school and working a full-time job changed her life;
– the fairy tales that she shared with the entire audience, after which everyone concluded that “fairy tale characters aren’t meant to have eyes” (Tweeted by @averysbooknook)
– her admiration for the original Little Red Riding Hood, “who saves herself in the end!”
– her love of writing female characters who want to do more than just get a boyfriend;
– why her favourite Sailor senshi is Sailor Jupiter: she’s strong and kicks butt, but has a gooey center!
I can honestly say I have never had so much fun at a book signing before. Great friends (and Mom Tina!), an amazing series and a truly fabulous author–what more could a reader ask for? I know I’m looking forward to Cress and Winter, and who knows? Maybe another great day like yesterday will pop up in the next year. I’m glad to have had the chance to experience it with the friends I have.