The end of the year is always a time of reflection for me, of looking back over the past and thinking about the reasons to be grateful. One of the big things for me, and for my family, this past year was getting to meet Cory Doctorow in person.
I have been a fan of his for a number of years, ever since someone recommended that I read his novel "Little Brother." I really wish I could remember who that was. After the first book, A Place So Foreign and Eight More, Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Eastern Standard Tribe, Makers and For The Win soon followed. But there was more.
While I still worked at Stardock, Zubaz and I found that we shared the pleasure of reading Cory's stories. One night, I wrote Cory a note of thanks...and he responded! Almost immediately. I can't tell you how cool I found that!
I couldn't wait to tell my kids. One thing led to another and soon we all began to share and enjoy his works. (One day, if I am really lucky, my son will give me back my copy of Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town - at least that is my hope.)
Over the months and years, Cory and I have exchanged emails and I have included my kids in the correspondence. My reasons have been twofold- Cory is exactly the kind of person, with the kind of vision, that I think is important to share with your children; and it makes me seem marginally cooler, you know for a parental type figure, that I know him. Sort of. Which brings me to the next point.
This past September, I received a note that Cory would be speaking in Ann Arbor, as part of the Penny Stamps Lecture Series panel on Futurology. I emailed my daughter and we made plans to go. We both enjoyed the first part of the presentation, which was held in the Michigan Theater, a large space that filled up pretty much completely. But after that, there was a smaller session. We got to sit front row. I was wearing my best "Talk Nerdy to Me" t-shirt, a shirt I bought after reading Cory's short story, "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth."
Cory was signing books afterwards. When we came up with our copies of Little Brother (my daughter Lauren) and Makers (that was for me) I introduced myself and Lauren and Cory greeted us both warmly. He spoke with us and was a true gentleman.
As we were leaving, my daughter said to me "That was the coolest thing in my life." I have to tell you, I walked the rest of the way slightly above the ground.
It is truly wonderful that there are still people so warm and so truly courteous in the world.