Meeting Peter Brown

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Peter Brown is a successful writer/illustrator, Caldecott Honor Medal recipient and his book, “Mr Tiger Goes Wild” is my six year old daughter’s newest inspiration.

This is her rendition of “Mr. Tiger”.

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Peter Brown also happens to be in Singapore at the moment.  Not just in Singapore, but making presentations at my children’s school!

This morning after seeing my six year old to her classroom door, I went to the library to order a signed copy of “Mr Tiger Goes Wild” and “Creepy Carrots” and there sat Mr. Brown in the librarian’s office drinking his morning coffee.

I am a very non-imposing person.  Because I like to be left alone I am always assuming that other people would like the same.  Unexpected social confrontation confuses me and I always say stupid things or leave very important things unsaid.  But my concern at being an imposition on others has cost me many opportunities and many regrets.

I became very interested in the nearby library shelves, inspecting the books displayed by conscientious librarians, while really contemplating my social disabilities and trying to convince myself that interrupting a famous person with gushing praise early in the morning while they are still drinking their coffee and probably severely jet-lagged is not being an imposition.  I took a few turns, glancing at the librarian’s door and then I found myself standing in the doorway, the point of no return.

“I don’t mean to be a stalker” is how I began and if I was the kind of person who slapped herself on the forehead, this would have been the perfect moment to do it!  But I spoke and was not hit by lightning.  It was easier after that.

So what do you think I said after my very dynamic opening words?  Did I leave off stalker mode and confidently declare that I am an illustrator come to sit at the feet of the the all knowing?  Did I give him a business card so he could look at my work.  Did I get his contact information so I could improve my non-existent network.  The answer is no, of course not, because leaving important things unsaid is what I do.  Walking into that room did not transform me into someone else with self promoting social skills.

Peter Brown was very gracious and patient.  As nice as I would assume he is with all the stalkers he encounters.  He even let me take his picture in what he called his funny pose.  But a stalker is all I was this time.  Maybe I should take a class on how to not be yourself and become great at blowing your own horn or maybe I should just go read Susan Cain’s book “Quiet” again.  Or maybe I should just revel in the fact that I met a really successful illustrator and that for the first time in my life I had the opportunity to feel like a groupie!

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