“Man-crush.” Is that term offensive? It implies that as a man, my crush has to be on a woman unless I specifically indicate otherwise. How heteronormative.
I wrote about my man-crush last October in my post I Love You, What’s Your Name? That post isn’t about New York Times best-selling author Jamie Ford, and he isn’t the object of affection described in the title. In my usual fashion, I’ve strung together various unrelated topics into a sprawling story that has a hard time making a point. But while the post isn’t about Jamie, I fairly gush over him in the middle of it. And some of the comments are about him as well—but that’s probably because in the last sentence of the post I confess my crush.
I met Jamie at a work event. He was the featured guest at a fundraiser for the Adams County Library System (my work place). Jamie mingled with the crowd, signed his books, and gave a talk. Everyone loved him. He warmly greeted me and everybody else with sincerity and interest. He read from his most recent novel, and during the Q&A session he told hilarious, self-deprecating stories. People rolled in the aisles with laughter.
As the night wound down—actually by this point I was ready to be done, but we still had hours of cleanup ahead of us—my inner voice chided me: “Jeff, go talk to Jamie. You’re a loser if you don’t.” (My inner voice is something of a jerk). Why should I be nervous to talk with Jamie Ford? He’s an author, I’m an author. Neither of us read the other’s books. We should be on equal footing. Maybe it’s the celebrity/success thing. Lots of pressure to avoid making an ass of myself.
“Jamie, who’s an author you’ve met at an event like this who left you feeling intimidated?” It wasn’t until after I asked the question that I realized I showed my hand.
“Wow, that’s a great question.” Jamie said I asked a great question! His answer was a little disappointing, he named a writer I don’t really know. But it got us talking for a few minutes, and when we were done, I felt like I didn’t squander my one chance to chat up a real author.
At the end of the night I was a little bummed. I really enjoyed listening to Jamie speak. It wasn’t going to happen again. Except:
On Friday, June 5th at 6:30 PM EDT, Jamie is coming back to Gettysburg—Covid style. He’s giving a Zoom presentation to benefit my library. We’re a nonprofit. Yes, we get most of our money from government agencies, but we need to fundraise a quarter of our annual budget. This year, things look bleak in the fundraising department. People lost lots of wealth in March. Lots of people lost their jobs, too. It’s too soon to know which local businesses aren’t going to reopen, we’re hitting the Yellow Phase on Friday—the point where certain stores and restaurants can reopen with certain limitations. But as we drove through town over the past two months, we said things like “Well, Jack’s* is probably gone for good.”
So coming up in two weeks, here’s a chance to help a local library. Think of ACLS as representative of all the local libraries around the world. They’re all still operating. Loaning eBooks and online magazines, offering free music streaming, video-recording storytimes and book reviews. Your librarians are still hard at work. This is a chance to give back. Jamie will read from one of his books or a short story, and he will host a Q&A session. If it’s half as good as the last one, it’s easily worth the money.
About that money: It’s $25 per household. If you live in eastern or central United States, it’s timed well for happy hour. Pour yourself a glass of wine, and prepare to be charmed.
Tickets can be bought HERE.
* We don’t have a Jack’s. This post is likely to get some local readership, I don’t want to hurt any feelings.