Dear Graeme Simsion,
You invented what now?
My name’s Sonya and last Monday, 11 February, I perched myself in the fifth row at your packed Avid Reader salon event. I was the one blocking the entire sixth row’s view with my unstoppable hair. Think Shirley-Temple-meets-Ross-Noble during a cyclone. Apologies Graeme, had I realised you were so short in stature I might have packed a ribbon and saved everyone the trouble of stretching in their seats to see you.
You made quite an impression with your opening, reading from your new rom-com novel The Rosie Project. I got the feeling you found it hard to sit still; you read with such childlike animation and near-violent gesticulation I feared you might jump into the crowd at any given moment. Perhaps you have some things in common with your incorrigible leading character.
My heart sung a happy tune, possibly A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, when you labelled yourself a ‘Bob Dylan tragic’ and the two excited, young ladies beside me giggled and cooed at various points during your conversation with Kate Evans.
You listed a favourite meal in France and a data modelling system you created among your artistic influences. My mind doesn’t seem capable of making any guesses as to what a data modelling system could be, but I’m impressed nonetheless. Being creative while obeying the rules seems to be a life-living theme for you; and as an obsessively-tidy editor and former School Prefect, that’s alright with me.
Your areas of know-how are a-plenty; you navigated the challenging, reader-diagnosed theme of Asperger’s sophisticatedly and with well-researched familiarity. I was pleased that you had not taken the Rain Man route of side-kicking your character in question, Don Tillman, instead profiling his-possibly coincidental-symptoms as advantageous, hero-like qualities. Kudos to you, Sir.
Wine glasses in one hand, fresh copies of your book in the other, your crowd of enthusiastic readers and local authors hung gawkily around your signing table-a clear indication of a successful evening. Your only mistake that night, Graeme, was allowing three mind-blowingly clever young writers to schmooze the crowd before you took to the stage.
Sian Campbell, Hayley Stockall, and Samuel Maguire made me rethink ever writing again. After every twitching set of ears in the West End book shop had listened fixatedly to each writer’s work, I felt unworthy of even scribbling on the authors’ toilet paper. I hope none of them read this. But then, I suppose that would mean they have intercepted your mail, Mr Simsion, which is very rude indeed.