Several weeks ago my mother called me.
"Did you hear?" she asked excitedly. "Elie Wiesel is coming to Charleston! He's giving a talk at the Sotille Theater on Sunday!"
I almost dropped the phone. Elie Wiesel? Really? The man who survived Auschwitz, who came away from that Hell-on-Earth experience with enough presence of mind to become a great, insightful writer of his generation? Coming here? To Charleston?
I've wanted to hear Dr. Wiesel speak since I was a teenager and never had the opportunity, even growing up an hour outside New York City, where I'm sure he spoke frequently. I've only seen one Holocaust survivor speak in public (and I wrote about it here on my husband's blog, years ago), and it was enlightening and impossible and horrible and amazing. Since I've spent much of my life researching the Holocaust, the possibility of going to see Dr. Wiesel in person was almost overwhelming.
By the next day, though, we knew it wasn't meant to be. Apparently only friends of the "benefactor" who'd made Dr. Wiesel's visit possible (i.e. shelled out tons of cash, I'm sure) would be allowed into the actual theater for the live talk. Tickets were available to see a live video broadcast at various spots downtown, but unless you knew the nameless benefactor, you couldn't actually be in the theater with Dr. Wiesel. And I'm not connected enough to the Charleston Jewish scene (or at all, actually...I don't belong to a synagogue) to have any idea who the benefactor was...
I wanted to be in the same room. To breathe in the same air. To smell the same smells and hear the same sounds. He's a legend, after all. At least to me. If you never have, go read Night now. As soon as possible.
So I didn't get to see Elie Wiesel speak, but I admire him still, and love that even at 83 years old he is still making a difference through his Foundation, and he's still educating the world, one speaking engagement at a time.
So...I didn't get to hear Elie Wiesel speak, it's true. And he's a hero to me, that's also true.
But I have more than one hero!
I've spoken numerous times on this blog about how much I've always admired the writing skill of one Stephen King. His yarns have rocked my world from the time I was eight years old and saw bits of The Shining for the first time. Then when I was ten and the TV-movie-version of It came out. Then when I was thirteen and it took me a full school year to actually read It, because I kept having to tuck it away under my bed because it scared me so much.
Well. This year, Mr. King is stepping out of Maine to attend the Savannah Book Festival, and guess who got tickets to see his closing remarks on the final night???
Charles and I are the proud owners of tickets, and we are so excited!! Not only will it be our first full weekend away since Zoe's birth (she'll stay with my parents, which I think they will LOVE!), but we'll get to see Stephen King! Live and in person! We'll breathe the same air! Smell the same smells! Hear the same sounds!
Maybe get him to sign a book? Can it really be true?
Anyway, I'm going to be bubbly-excited about this until February, and you can be sure I'll be on the lookout for the perfect dress for the occasion.
Ah, heroes. It's good to look up to people. Along that line, I'm sad to hear of the death of Steve Jobs. He changed the world. Not everyone can say that.
P.S. At the insistence of several people on Facebook and Twitter who encouraged me to "grow a pair," I did sign up for the Published and Polished online class! It starts tomorrow! I'm so nervous I could yak!!