When I was nineteen, I stumbled across this weekly advice column called Savage Love, written by a man named Dan Savage. I was immediately hooked. I’ve never missed a week. (I’m thirty-five now. You do the math.) At it’s core, Savage Love is a sex advice column, but it’s so much more than that. Over the years, I’ve learned so much about relationships and people and society and politics and … life, really. No holds barred. He talks about everything in a very honest, no BS way. When I was a teenager, it was refreshing. (And considering I was raised in a very Catholic household, it was very much needed information.)
It’s still refreshing when I read it as a married mother with three kids.
Dan Savage has also written several books (I’ve bought and read — and loved — three of them so far). He and his husband, Terry, are also the founders of the It Gets Better Project:
What is the It Gets Better Project?
In September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry Miller to inspire hope for young people facing harassment. In response to a number of students taking their own lives after being bullied in school, they wanted to create a personal way for supporters everywhere to tell LGBT youth that, yes, it does indeed get better.
The It Gets Better Project™ has become a worldwide movement, inspiring more than 50,000 user-created videos viewed more than 50 million times. To date, the project has received submissions from celebrities, organizations, activists, politicians and media personalities, including President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Lambert, Anne Hathaway, Colin Farrell, Matthew Morrison of “Glee”, Joe Jonas, Joel Madden, Ke$ha, Sarah Silverman, Tim Gunn, Ellen DeGeneres, Suze Orman, the staffs of The Gap, Google, Facebook, Pixar, the Broadway community, and many more. For us, every video changes a life. It doesn’t matter who makes it.
If you haven’t guessed, I’m a huge fan of Dan Savage. He’s been a tremendous inspiration to me as a writer first and foremost, but also as a spouse, and as a parent.
When I learned that he was going to be doing a book signing in Washington, D.C., I knew I had to go. I told my husband that I really wanted to go, but what I really meant was that I NEEDED TO GO WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING AND NO ONE BETTER GET IN MY WAY THIS MEANS YOU. This was not an opportunity I was willing to miss. I planned what I was going to wear. I planned what I was going to say. I had contingency conversations. Like if I ran into him in the elevator. Or if I had an opportunity to buy him a drink. Or if I tripped and fell on my face in front of him.
So when I got there, it was this stunning cocktail party on the roof of the W Hotel in Washington DC. Everyone was gorgeous. I bought two copies of the book and stood in line with my librarian friend (remaining nameless for her benefit) and tried not to throw up.
I think I was more nervous at his book signing than I was at my own. Seriously. But I was ready. I knew what I wanted to say. How he was an inspiration to me as a writer. How I’d read his book already and what points really moved me. How I had so much admiration for what he was doing for kids all over the world with the It Gets Better Project. I had so many things ready to say.
I ended up staring at him (and possibly drooling) and choked out, “Uh uh uh I like your column.”
Yeah. But I got a picture!
BUT THEN. Later, Dan was mingling, and the crowd had thinned, and my other friend Jim (who is one of the bravest men alive) asked me if I wanted to talk to Dan. He didn’t even wait for an answer. He walked me up to Dan and started telling him that I was a writer. Then Dan turned to me and asked what I write about. I started describing my series, and he cut me off and said, “Oh, I know it! My neighbor’s daughter is reading your book. She was talking about it the other night.”*
And then I fainted.
No, not really. But I might as well have, because I don’t really remember what else we talked about. I did get to say some of the things I’d planned. I offered to send his neighbor signed copies of my books.
And that was it. An amazing night.
But guess what? One of those copies of his book, American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics? I got one signed for you guys. Unfortunately, I can only give it to one person. So who wants it? Open internationally! Because of the content, you must be over 18 to win. (Or have your parent email me to say it’s okay.)
What are you waiting for? Here’s the rafflecopter!
* – I am fully aware he might have been saying this just to be nice. Don’t mess with my illusions, though, ‘kay? 🙂