Dinner With Michael Hague

28 Sep

There are times in your professional life when you stop and say, “Huh, this is a bit surreal.” A good example: Getting on  a roller coaster at the Mall of America with Michael Hague…but not the one that does loops because he didn’t want to throw up on us.


So, how does a girl end up in such a situation? Easy…kind of. Ok, I’m just amazingly lucky.


My CP is a member of the Midwest Fiction Writers who had invited Michael out to speak this past weekend. After his all day workshop, he offered to do some consulting gigs the next day. My CP was lucky enough to grab his last slot in the evening. I went along for the ride for two reasons: 1. so we could discuss whatever he told her on the way home and, 2. because I’m really allergic to her cats and any time out of the house cuts down on the migraine.


At the end of their meeting, my CP waves me over as Michael walks away and tells me he wants to see the Mall of America…um, okay. It had been on my list too because it’s part of the Minneapolis deal, but still it seemed weird. We get there and wow, these Minneapolis people love their malls, huh? In the middle of the mall is this amusement park with games, rides of kids, a flume and three roller coasters. I was shocked. Michael was excited. CP was just giving the tour 🙂


The next thing you know, Michael has us at a ticket gate. We clarify which one does what because, even before dinner, no one wants anyone else getting sick on them….this would be a completely different blog then. We even have the picture they take — all three of us in one shot — kismet I tell you.


But I’m sure, if you’re reading this post, this isn’t what you want to hear. You want to hear about the nugget of genius that Michael Hague passed on to each of us over cheap mugs of black coffee in some hip little joint.


Sorry, no can do.


We went to a lovely Greek restaurant where (I think) they almost had to throw us out…you know how writers are once they start talking.


Personally, I managed to horrify him with my choice of favorite movies and (maybe) convince him to go watch two he hasn’t seen. We got to hear about some of his VFC (otherwise known as Very Famous Clients) and what consulting on scripts is like. The differences between working with open-minded and not-so-open-minded writers. What his early workshops were like…the travel, the groups, the being told he could walk back to the hotel in Boston (some how, as the Bostonian at the table, I think I somehow got blamed for this, but gosh darn it, Boston proper is only 3 miles across).


One of my favorite parts of the evening was when he brought up Jenny Crusie and asked if we had met her. We got to tell him about being mentored by her at the LCMC and how much we learned. When he found out we weren’t in touch with her any more, he turned around in the car to look at me and tell me, “Call her tomorrow. Tell her I told you to. Let her know how you’re doing and tell her thank you again.” I had to point out we’re not all Michael Hague. My “Famous People On Speed Dial” list is relatively short. So instead, the command became: email her. (I did. We’ll see if she even remembers me 🙂 )


But honestly, hanging out with Michael is just an experience in story. For so many reasons. When he isn’t talking ABOUT story, he’s telling a story. Everything comes back to the story. People, places, movies, books, work, craft, travel, dinner…it all comes back to the story…to the Identity and digging into the Essence. It boils down and you have to watch for it, because everything he tells you wraps back to something else and if you blink, you’ll miss it.

8 Responses to “Dinner With Michael Hague”

  1. leighroyals September 28, 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    Bria, I’m so happy for you. What a neat day and a really nice guy! I think of your travels often! I pray you stay well and safe.

    And please regale me with more! I haven’t seen anything on the diva driving blog lately. I really enjoy both of your blogs.

    As a fan
    and friend.

    xoxo…ok. just O’s. (those are the hugs, right?)

  2. gwen hayes September 28, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    Dude…did you get his number on speed dial? So you could tell him how you’re doing and thank him again?

  3. Kaige September 28, 2009 at 11:10 pm #

    Wow. I think you had more fun, but I’m glad we both had good days. I wonder if Jenny’s ears were itching?

  4. Jeannie Lin September 28, 2009 at 11:42 pm #

    That is just AWESOME!!!!

  5. briaq September 29, 2009 at 12:43 am #

    When I joked about stealing his number off his cell he said he never carried it b/c he worked from home, but seriously…he seems like one of the most accessible higher up people I’ve met LOL

    He was so much fun to hang out with. I laughed all night!

  6. jodi September 29, 2009 at 9:16 am #

    oh wow, I wouldn’t care if there were nuggets of wisdom. He’s such a cool teacher. I’m so envious. You’re so lucky. *sigh*

    He’s right though, get out there and talk to people. Say thanks. Make sure to follow up with him and tell him how much the advice meant to you (what Gwen said) and stay in touch.

    You sound like you’re having a great trip. 🙂

  7. December September 29, 2009 at 2:54 pm #

    Oh wow – I’m so close you could have spit on me from that roller coaster! I’m in Wisconsin, by Green Bay!

    If you’re swinging through the area, give a shout. We have a guest bed available.

    Sounds like a great experience!

  8. briaq September 29, 2009 at 6:40 pm #

    Yes ma’am, Jodi ma’am 🙂

    Oh December! We’ll have to see if we can work something out…maybe at least grab coffee? um, is it by any chance between here and Toronto?

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