36 Arguments For the Existence of God has been on my shelf, sadly unread, for a few months now. I’m legitimately excited to read it as I love heady novels that fuse philosophy and fiction, I just haven’t quite gotten to it yet. And never had I wished I’d read it more than this past weekend when my girlfriend and I were walking through Central Park in New York, and I saw Ms. Goldstein sitting on a park bench. You would’ve thought I was a teenage girl who’d just seen Justin Bieber. Well, okay, not exactly – but I was pretty star struck.
Of course, not having read the book, I couldn’t summon the courage to actually talk to her. It was enough to enjoy the “celebrity sighting” experience. Similarly, one other time earlier this year, I saw Audrey Niffenegger in a bar in Chicago enjoying a glass of wine with a friend, and I didn’t approach her either. The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my top 20 favorite novels, but still, I couldn’t talk myself into interrupting her conversation to gush.
usually awkward, in my case). I’m talking about totally random times when you spot a writer just going about his/her day. Is it okay to chat them up? I mean, these aren’t actors or athletes who are used to being accosted by autograph- and photo-seeking fans. Would a writer who is quietly enjoying a sunny summer afternoon on a park bench be annoyed by being approached by a star-struck fan?
What do you think? Have you ever randomly encountered a writer/novelist just minding his/her own business? How did you react?
(By the way, if you're wondering, yes, Ms. Goldstein lives in Massachusetts. She's married to Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, as a random, but interesting, note. So I was wondering why she'd be on a park bench in New York. I was so sure it was her, I made a point to look at her Website as soon as I got back to my room. There, I discovered from here appearances schedule that she was participating in a panel discussion that night in New York. Yep, that was her.)