I’ve stepped in it this time! For real and good. And there’s not a thing I can do about it, except maybe  fake my own death.

A few months ago, a human I absolutely adore asked me if I might be interested in participating in a panel discussion on blogging at the Mid-South Book Festival. Of course I said yes! I would find ANY excuse to hang with Emily. AND I get to talk about blogging? Sign me right up! It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Happy hugging! It's going to happen!

Happy hugging! It’s going to happen!

But now it’s THAT time. The Festival is this Saturday, and I think I might puke or pee my pants. I’m a wee bit nervous (see what I did there?).

Here’s the thing. I’m not nervous about the panel. I could talk blogging all day long. They will have to slap some duct tape over my mouth to shut me up. I love writing, and I love my platform. I can sing the praises of WordPress all day long. I tried other platforms back in the day, but I never got far. I don’t even know how I found WordPress in the first place, but it has been the best for everything from building community to actually designing… Wait a minute. I am not going to give away ALL the milk for free. You’re just going to have to show up for the panel discussion to buy this cow.

I’m also not nervous about meeting up with Emily. We’ve met live and in person a couple of times. She is great. The only concern I have is what to wear. She has already seen my Cookie Monster shirt, and it’s dirty anyway. Not enough time to do laundry. Maybe Severus Snape? But which one? Such hard decisions.

I’m not even nervous about the trip. It’s a long drive. Like, seven or eight hours, after a day of teaching. But I’ll be fine. I’ve made long trips before. And even my husband isn’t too worried. Last night, he tossed me the GPS and said “Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.” *** It’s cool.

The reason I’m all wigged out and losing sleep is because it just occurred to me that there might be more people at this festival thing than just me and Emily. And I don’t always play well with others. Socially awkward is putting it mildly. I’m less wallflower and more drywall fungus.

I’m a good public speaker. I grew up doing theater, and I loved it. Still do. And I can give a keeper chat at work without batting an eye. I’m doing a 2 hour tour tomorrow night (it’s better than a three hour tour because no tiny ships get tossed), and I will use up every single second and enjoy it. I can talk to zoo guests.

But there’s a difference. A keeper chat or a tour is all about me sharing cool facts and stories about the animals around me. At the book event, there might not BE any animals around me. I tried to talk Big Al into going with me. I suggested a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, and maybe a monocle.He could be my conversation starter.

Al says "Nah!"

Al says “Nah!”

It was a stretch to invite him in the first place . He weighs a quarter ton, and he hogs the radio when he rides shot gun. Not to mention his poop issue. But it doesn’t matter. I won’t be forced to listen to “So Happy Together” on repeat for eight hours because he gave the trip a hard pass. If it was a Bonnaroo kind of hoo-ha, he said, he’d go. Those things take place in a field. This one takes place in a theater. No hay, no Al. Tough break for me, man.

I don’t know how to talk to regular people. Do they bite? Will they hit me? Worse – will they laugh at me? Will they ask Emily how she could invite such a hack? I’m not even sure what to say. What do people who aren’t in the zoo field talk about, anyway? Tell me quick because I’m leaving Thursday, and I sure don’t know.

I wish Al was going with me. Even if his turd nuggets DO sometimes weigh three pounds apiece. Wait a minute! Hold the phones! I’m not nervous anymore! I do believe I just found my conversation starter! If a three pound turd doesn’t impress, then maybe I can share my bird skull collection.

I think it’s going to be okay!

*** I might be paraphrasing here.

32 thoughts on “Uh-oh!

  1. A few things:

    1) Could I love you any more than I already do?? No. No I could not–and frankly, I think it’s kind of insensitive of you to keep trying to make me.

    2) The fact that you WEIGH 3lb turd nuggets is certain to impress, even those folks for whom the existence of such nuggets alone might warrant little more than a polite yawn.

    3) I’m starting to suspect “hoo-ha” might mean something different down where you and Big Al are from than it does ’round these here parts…

  2. You have a bird skull collection?? I think that’s pretty cool. When I was a kid, I collected feathers and egg shells from random birds. Once or twice I even found abandoned nests. Never got to skulls and other body parts though…

  3. I am so insanely delighted that you are going to be in MY town, at one of MY favorite festivals of the year, on MY panel. You are going to be delightful and wonderful and I just can’t wait to sell you on Memphis so you can up and move your entire family here and open your very own turtle sanctuary here. Seriously, that’s my motive. MEMPHIS NEEDS TURTLES AND HEATHER. xox

  4. I’m sure you were fabulous.

    P.S. You should read Last Chance To See, by Douglas Adams. If you haven’t already. There’s also a more current one by Stephen Fry, co-written by the same dude who worked with Adams.

    The Adams one was the first book in that Litsy group that I read. Thought of you the whole time I was reading it. Animals, and how rare ones are treated by us humans, etc.

  5. It’s interesting that you would describe yourself as a good public speaker but also socially awkward. It seems like someone who’s good on stage would also be comfortable off stage but I definitely have a different persona on and off stage. I feel like I’m playing a part when I’m in front of people, even if the part I’m playing is myself. But I come off stage and I’m suddenly me again.

  6. I know exactly what you mean! Whenever I try to tell someone I’m shy or socially awkward, they’re like “but you were just on that stage or regaling a funny story to the whole room” and trying to explain how a room full of people is no big deal but one person at a time TERRIFYING… is not so easy! I’m sure you’ll do amazing though – and it sounds like such a fun event! Good luck!!

  7. Hi,
    So many interesting things to see. I love Gilligans Island and Harry Potter.
    I met you at Susie Lindau’s Meet and Greet.
    Maybe you can check out my blog if you need a blogging tip or two. That’s what I write about.
    I brought you the link to my About page, so you can read more about my blog:
    Like Susie, I have regular networking events each month. You said you liked blog hops. I have two each month and a total of ten networking events each month. Nice to meet you.

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