The entire hour, I was glassy-eyed. I was in the presence of one of my author idols, Frances Mayes. She was doing a book reading at Warwick’s in La Jolla for her new book, See You in the Piazza.

After painting Italy with her lilting Georgia accent, she moved toward the book-signing table. She stopped and turned toward the crowd.

Her eyes met mine.

“Are you a writer? You’re a writer, aren’t you?”

My eyes widened. What the…

I did that thing where you turn around to see if the person is actually talking to someone else behind you. People behind me were doing the same.

“Are you talking to me?” I asked.

She continued to persist. “Yes, you. Are you a writer?”

The confusion continued and she moved on to her table. A few rows behind me was a man.

“Was she talking to you,” I asked.

“Well, I’m very famous,” he grinned. I assumed he was kidding.

Waiting in line to have Frances (Ms. Mayes?) sign my book, blood throbbed through my head. Is it possible that she recognized me? One time I tweeted about her and she responded. Maybe she’d started reading The Unexplorer. Maybe not…

When I reached her, I asked her if she meant me.

“No, that man looked familiar,” she said.

Oh…

Still, it was one of the greatest moments in my life to meet such an inspiration and thank her for her role in making me fall in love with Italy and write about my travels.