On Saturday 26 September I completed no. 22 on my 40/40 project list WHOOOO HOOO
It all happened rather quickly and went something like this:
Monday 21 September – I get a message from my friend Richard Pettitt saying
‘By the way, I have just seen a tweet from Danny Wallace. He's going to be in Bath on Saturday (probably a book event). Didn't you want to meet him? X
OMG is he!!! YES I DO!!
awesome - thanks will check it out now!
it’s for a Bath Kids literature festival
I have tickets. Now how to not look like a stalker??
OK he has replied to my tweet as I told him meeting him is on my 40/40 list and he's said looking forward to meeting me. Awesome!
All in a day's work!
It's a 45 min talk about his new book - wonder if he'll be doing something nearer you? Unless you fancied going too? Bit of a long way to Bath though
I'll come to Bath if you agree to go to Cheddar Gorge with me and eat cheese for my silly place name road trip book...
In true Danny Wallace Style we’d just organised our own mini adventure….
Why Danny Wallace?
It was the book Yes Man that set me off on this path. I can’t quite recall who it was that introduced me to Danny Wallace, but I read Yes Man and I totally loved it! The idea of it, the adventures he went on as a result of saying Yes. So simple - yet - so life changing. For Danny - saying Yes - and for me reading about it.
I remember being away for work and sitting and reading it in a hotel lounge one evening. I was laughing out loud so often that a chap came over to ask me – what are you reading??
It had a real impact on me and how I saw things from then on.
That's why he ended up on my 40/40 list. He's someone who has inspired me. Basically I wanted to say Hi and thank him for his crazy adventures and for writing about them.
Now I was going to be meeting him!
OK I thought – well it’s a children’s literature event so VERY doubtful that I’ll actually get to have a real pint with him. I know – I’ll draw one.
So that’s what I did.
The day came around
Richard met me at the Mission theatre in Bath with a few minutes to spare before the event started, he'd had a long drive and Bath was chocka block!
We went in
Yes, as I suspected, we were the only adults there without children.
Its OK I thought, Danny knows we are coming – we won’t appear too crazy….
We found some seats and a few minutes later Danny bounded on stage to talk about his new children’s book – Hamish and the World Stoppers. This is his first book written for children and he was inspired to write it by his son. He wanted to know what would make him and his friends laugh...
Danny was funny, engaging with both the kids and the adults in the audience and really brought his book to life. I’m really pleased we went and that the lack of having a child to take didn't stop us from going!!
Then Jamie Littler, joined Danny on stage. Jamie is the illustrator of the book and with the help of his visualiser we (the audience) were asked to help create a new character.
Bob, the banana riding cyclops who works in a bank and wears a top hat was created before our eyes. It was fun and very amusing as I'm sure you can imagine.
It was a joy to see the kids (of all ages) getting so involved and eager to stick up their hands once they had an idea. I noticed the younger kids had less fear than the slightly older ones though whose hands were just about up! You know the kind of thing - I'm putting my hand up but just enough...
We were treated to a chapter from the book and then some other interactions. I really had to stop myself from shouting out – reminding myself – this is for the kids….
I loved some of the ideas that the kids came up with when asked
‘So if the world stopped around you and you were the only person moving – what would you do…?
One girl immediately put her hand up and said ‘I’d draw moustaches on everyone.’ Brilliant!
She was invited up on stage to do just that. Drawing a moustache on Jamie the Illustrators face.
There was lots of laughter.
Interesting to hear quite a few other suggestions from the children in the audience involved stealing! Stealing all the money from the bank and then going and buying all the hamburgers and then eating them all…..Danny very diplomatically changed the word ‘stealing’ to ‘borrowing.’
How about you – what would you do if the world stopped and only you could move about?
Once the talk had finished we were invited to queue up to get books signed. We held back so the kids could go first then joined the line. We worked out that we are actually all around the same age. I’m 40, Danny is 38 and Richard 36.
I started to get nervous.
Then we were there!
"Hi Danny" I said – "I’m Morwhenna"
At which point he said "Morwhenna!" got up and promptly gave me a hug! How lovely!
Totally wasn’t expecting that. I think it helped that I’d tweeted him beforehand. Ah the joy of Twitter!
He kindly posed for some photos with The Pint. I did manage to ask him some questions.
What advice would you give someone setting out? I asked as we were posing for a photo
“Do what excites you” he said with a big smile.
“If it doesn’t excite you then there’s not much point. And share your anecdotes with your friends – see what makes them interested/engaged, what makes them laugh.”
I was really grateful to him for being such a good sport especially when he had to ask me at the end "Erm are you actually going to give me that pint?"
I’d been holding on to it as I’d become rather star struck and had an attack of brain freeze. *cue embarrassed look*
It was all rather comical. I couldn't help but laugh.
“I’ll put it in my office” Danny said
Oh OK! And there I was thinking would he actually want this? Turns out he did.
So Danny has the pint.
And I felt very happy and rather Skippy.
It’s actually 10 years this year since Yes Man was published.
A lot has happened in those 10 years and I have to say discovering Danny’s hilarious antics in his books – Yes Man, Join Me and Friends Like these, inspired me to go on my own creative adventures.
It also meant that I got to meet up with the super talented artist and illustrator Richard Pettitt – who I’d met on a 30 Day challenge three years ago. Also a big Danny Fan. In fact Richard's Road Trip Adventures are inspired by him.
|L-R Danny and Jamie in action, Richard & Danny (Danny looking like he's Richard's big brother) and Jamie doodling in a copy of Hamish & The World Stoppers. We got hurried along at this point so didn't get a picture with Jamie which was a shame!
It was thanks to Richard sending me that message on Monday we were even there. Turns out he doesn’t go on twitter very often, but that morning he did, just around the time Danny posted the tweet about being in Bath….
It was a brilliant, fun afternoon!
Then Richard and I headed off for Cheddar…for part 2 of the adventure. My turn to be part of one of his projects.
Danny gives a really good speech on the seven things he’s learnt when receiving an honorary doctorate by the University of Dundee. Well worth watching.
Ps His son also gave me a chomp bar. Happy Days