Geek Girl Profile: Phoebe Kitanidis, Young Adult Author
or How I Became Instant BFF’s with a Greek Geek Goddess
Today I want to write about my awesome West Coast friend Phoebe Kitanidis. It’s odd but a few times in my life I’ve met people that I was instantly connected to (BTW: so awkward if they don’t feel the same, happens with a lot of boys back in the day) and she’s one of them. Would believe that until she picks me up from the airport in Seattle later today, we’ll only have hung out in person on two other occasions? Not unless I told you that when we’ve been together, even the first time we met, we both seemed to recognize a kindred spirit. Conventions seem to be the linchpin that keeps brining us together (for which I’m very thankful).
The scene is Austin 2008: Phoebe a promising new young writer with an agent and a string of non-fiction credits to her name, Lola, a spunky young girl trying to navigate the waters of a SF writers workshop with just a cute jersey dress and quiet enthusiasm to her credit. I was workshopping a short story where Merlin gets fired and has a midlife wizard crisis where he ends of moving in with his mom and trying to get work as a witch doctor but ends up being hired by a dragon! As all my short stories turn out to be, it was really a novel idea masquerading as 12 pages of quips and crappy dialogue (it sounds so much better in my head than on paper). Phoebe was one of the Pros helping to mentor my motley group of wannabes but before I knew that she was the lady who noticed my grey dress. “Thanks! It was a Gap bargain, it’s so comfy,” I told her and we shared a smile of ladies who appreciate the merging of fashion and function.
This lovely Grecian writer would be the standard by which I judged friends made at conventions. She’s the original in what I call the Cute and Nerdy type of geek ladies I gravitate toward. She set the precedence for awesome ladies I’ve come to know who navigate the nerd realm with biting wit, awesome manicure, wry sense of humor and secret geekiness that makes them approachable and charismatic. (They’re the IT Girls of the convention going world, yes I just stole that from the latest issue of Nylon.) That first weekend after we met was a whirl wind of fun outings and adventures as I bounced us around Austin showing her the sites. From Huts Hamburgers (I still dream about how good their hamburgers are, try the Theta) to the Capitol and back to explore the HUGE Whole Foods we had a grand ole time and talked about our life’s story so far. She gave me some excellent man advice from a sage place of wisdom that let me later cut off an emotionally abusing and co-dependent bi-polar boyfriend. It was a lovely 3 days that ended too soon and while we infrequently kept in touch via the internets, the distance between College Station and Seattle is difficult to bridge.
However, I had the lucky opportunity of seeing her again two years later at the same convention when I was finally ‘shopping the first chapter of my muse novel that she’d loved the idea of so many years ago. It was awkward at first, like seeing that dude you had an awesome one night stand with for the first time in daylight and realizing yeah you weren’t that drunk when it happened. But after a tense hug and short recap of what the other had missed we were back to those weekend warriors from our first meeting! My fellow con-runners I was supposed to be helped weren’t too happy that I disappeared the majority of the weekend, but it was worth it to meet her awesome husband and catch up with a dear friend. Yes, this was only our second time hanging out ever, but I would certainly count Phoebe in the top 5 people who really get me. This time we stayed in a little better touch because now a year later I’m finally going to visit her in Seattle and we’re going to conquer yet another convention together. (Hopefully we don’t miss any of her panels this time because we were having too much fun. Seriously Phoebe it sounds like we had a love affair the more I describe it. Ha!)
It’s a weird phenomenon that has always fascinated me, I can think of only a handful of people who have had such an impact on me the first time I met them including a former English teacher who played the role of therapist that deserved an Oscar while sharing a plane trip and a library science PhD who spent hours explaining how to run a convention to a newb that I’m still friends with to this day not to mention an oil company guru who never gave up on me. Maybe those are Geek Girl stories for another day. Until then, I’m off to Geek Girl Con to network and study at the feet of amazing nerdy ladies that I aspire to join on panels one day. Not to mention this time Phoebe will be driving me around Seattle on adventures of daring do!! You don’t miss all the awesome blogging that’s sure to come out of this week so check back.
I’ll leave you with this question: have you ever met someone for the first time and then found yourself carrying on as if you were the best friends in the world? If not then you’re missing out! Go and have a crazy experience, make a new friend while I reunite with the crazy long distance nerdy friend of heart.
Follow her @phoebekitanidis! She’s an awesome young adult writer.
- lolacolleen posted this