I walked out of that signing extremely sullen. If I'm honest there were tears involved. I didn't want to be upset, but there was nobody to be angry with so I could only blame myself for getting my own hopes up. It wasn't Neil Gaiman's fault that he had that many fans. It wasn't the bookstore's fault that they had a system that didn't favor me. I looked at my mom and said, "One of the ideas of the book was that life isn't fair. I guess he's just reinforcing it." I stand by that. I would have liked to tell Neil Gaiman that his books have been entertaining me for years and that his latest book The Ocean at the End of the Lane was particularly poignant because the overall theme is owing someone your life and nobody knows better than someone who had a heart transplant what it's like to have to grow up and be worth another human life, but I didn't get that opportunity.
By the end of the drive home I had settled into a moderate angst. After unpacking my suitcase I checked my mail and there was a package for me. I didn't know what it was, but I had a guess. The package was a book called Sea of Sorrows. It was written by Ree Soesbee who is definitely my favorite author ever. She works at ArenaNet as a Narrative Designer for Guild Wars 2 and is entirely made of awesome. I liked her writing way before Guild Wars and now that she has written a novel set in Tyria where my favorite video game exists I like her writing even better. I carefully unwrapped the book and saw a post-it note with her signature on it. After announcing that I was keeping the post-it forever I flipped the book open to see if she signed it. I figured it would be silly to ship the book across the country if it wasn't signed. It was, of course, and even had a nice note. I started crying again at the note. I've never had a signed book before. As I read and re-read the note I caught a glimpse of my name and wondered which Emily Ree had dedicated the book to. It was me. My next thought was that this was a special copy just for me. My father reminded me that they don't do that with paperback books. Ree has since confirmed that every single book is dedicated to me. It blows my mind. The book comes out today and thousands of people will read that dedication. Thousands of humans will know that Ree thinks I'm important. It's cool beyond belief. It's honoring and humbling and it makes me wish there were bigger words for thankful.
As I was failing to process my over-emotional day I said, "I guess life isn't fair in both directions." It is so unfair that I was lucky enough to meet a woman as amazing as Ree, even if it was only for a day. There are a lot of people that would have wanted to go on that Make-a-Wish, but I was the one that did. My brother bought me that game as a present randomly. My heart failure was anything but fair. I have been so fortunate that I have met spectacular people and I always have plenty of chocolate to eat, but I've been miserably unlucky that my heart failed and I didn't get twenty seconds with Neil Gaiman. Life's not fair. Sometimes on the same day that one amazing author blows you off an even better one dedicates a book to you. None of it will ever make sense to me because I'm so small and insignificant compared to life, but I can tell you that I enjoy being alive even when I pull an F for my signing group.
Thank you Ree. It's a great book. Everyone should go buy it.