As a lifelong reader and writer, meeting your literary inspiration can be an absolutely flooring experience. In both March 2015 and October 2022, I was able to meet R. L. Stine, who is most notable from his “Goosebumps” and “Fear Street” series. As a child, “Goosebumps” books were the most enticing books I could possibly fathom. As I got a bit older, “Fear Street” began to feed this same growing passion for me as well. These books created a world that was completely new to me at the time, which was exactly what I needed to inspire my own life of creativity and writing. R. L. Stine’s mix of comedy and horror was the perfect recipe for an eager and passionate reader and writer, such as myself. From childhood to present adulthood, R. L. Stine has always been one of the main reasons I have fallen so in love with the acts of reading and writing, and for that, I will always be grateful.
During my most recent encounter with R. L. Stine this past October, my two brothers and I set out on an hour drive to the Barnes & Noble Eastchester in Scarsdale, NY. This meet and greet was in celebration of Goosebumps’ 30th anniversary. Included in the ticket price for the event, each attendee also received a copy of Stine’s recent books, “Slappy, Beware!” and “Haunting with the Stars (Goosebumps SlappyWorld #17)”, which Stine eagerly signed for us. He truly could have been mistaken for a comedian; he had the whole crowd laughing with spontaneous spooky stories and fun games of trivia with humorous answers. R. L. Stine began the event with some funny personal anecdotes and stories; he talked with the crowd from a small platform for a while before heading over to a table to sign books and speak with fans. He was also extremely pleasant and patient while fans of all ages eagerly awaited meeting him.
I felt on top of the world when I got to speak to my literary idol. R. L. Stine was one of the main attributes in inspiring me to become a writer, a journalist and an English teacher. I had prepared long and hard about how I could express my gratitude when I got the chance to speak with him, and decided to give him a letter so that I didn’t forget what I wanted to say when I met him. He really took the time to have meaningful conversations with each person, take pictures, and sign countless books and merchandise. He was incredibly generous in signing multiple books I had brought, which I will now cherish, and even inquired about which school I was attending when I told him he had inspired me to major in/have a career in English. I had brought two of my favorite books of the Goosebumps series, “The Werewolf of Fever Swamp” and “The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight.” I felt so heard and seen by someone who has been a constant inspiration for me in my passion and career, which is such a surreal experience. I knew what to expect, since I had met him before at a meet and greet in 2015, but I felt much more confident meeting him now as an adult and showing him how far I’ve come in my literary endeavors since then. In 2015, he signed my Fear Street book, “Party Games.” Now, I have a collection of signed books and merchandise from meeting him two different times! He is a very kind and patient person, and I truly couldn’t have asked for better or more memorable experiences in meeting him. R. L. Stine is truly one of a kind.
My brothers and I will always cherish the day we were able to meet our favorite author, R. L. Stine. We all grew up reading his books, watching his TV series and even his movies. He was very funny and easy to talk to, which enhanced the experience even more. Being able to connect childhood and adolescent experiences of reading his books and now putting conversations I’ve had with him together are so meaningful to me as a reader and writer. When I told him I was going to be an English teacher because of him, he said sincerely, “I’m glad my books meant something to you,” which has stuck with me ever since. His books have definitely always meant something to me, and after this experience, they mean even more. His writing is a symbol of inspiration for me, and I will continue pursuing my own passions in writing for the rest of my life. I’ve written for several different newspapers and magazines over the past few years, and seeing myself grow as a writer feels so rewarding. I feel so honored to now be able to write about my experiences both being inspired by and connecting in person with my lifelong literary idol.