The Scholastic family dinner at ALA Annual 2012 was a pretty memorable event for me. Among the many quality people I met that night was Raina Telgemeier, who I had the good fortune to be seated next to. I’m still largely clueless about the current world of comic book creators, but a year ago I was thoroughly, irredeemably clueless, and although I’d seen SMILE on bookstore shelves I had no idea who Raina actually was. There was probably an upside to that – thinking “OMG, NYT bestseller & Eisner Award winner Raina Telgemeier” might have made me act like more of a numbskull than I did – and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with her during the meal.
A few months later Raina appeared at one of my local indie stores for the Scholastic Graphix Tour, and I dropped by. Despite the fact that I’d spent a couple of hours chatting with Raina at that Scholastic dinner, I was neurotically prepared for the possibility that she wouldn’t remember me, but she did. Shockingly, she even appeared visibly happy to see me. The signing line was catastrophically long, as expected, and when my turn at the front arrived Raina gave me a big smile and a hug. We chatted for a bit, and I went home in a very chipper mood. Meeting someone and discovering that they’re not only spectacularly talented and successful but also genuinely sweet is, well, it’s a good thing. It dishes up a nice thick slab of hope or optimism or something, don’t you think?