I used to get nervous before speaking in front of a group. Insanely nervous! Sweaty, grumpy, shaky, ready-to-puke nervous. In fact, I used to pray for puke because “I can’t go on, I just puked” is a really good excuse.
But once I’m physically standing before an audience…once there’s no turning back…I enjoy myself. In fact, speaking before an audience has become something I look forward to. That sink-or-swim predicament allows me to forget all of my real-world stresses and just have fun. Of course, it took many speaking engagements before I noticed the nerves always backed off when I needed them to. But now, just knowing I will get through it without a dry cleaning bill makes me excited about upcoming gigs.
This coming weekend is the American Library Association’s annual conference. On Friday, shortly after I make the drive down to Anaheim, Penguin’s hosting a dinner for select librarians, educators, and ALA Awards Committee members. And I’m supposed to get up and say a few words. Sounds like something I’d enjoy, right?
Well, I made the horrible mistake of asking for a list of names of the other authors who will be speaking. In alphabetical order, they are…
I seriously don’t know if I can do this. At least, not without puking on something. I’ve already started shaking and sweating and a few people have even called me grumpy in the past few days (but I think they’re all stupid and wrong!!!).
Seriously, I’ve been trying to figure out where within that list I’d feel most comfortable speaking. And I don’t know where! There is nowhere!
LAST MINUTE UPDATE:
Everything’s going to be okay.
Why the sudden change? Because of a dare. Yes, once again, I’ve been dared by a Mermaid to do something potentially embarrassing in front of a bunch of strangers. And knowing that I might embarrass myself on purpose eliminates the chance of me embarrassing myself on accident.
(Don’t worry, as long as I buy that logic, it works.)
I’ll let you know how it goes…
P.S. From 11 to noon on Sunday, I’ll be autographing copies of Thirteen Reasons Why in booth #2617. Stop by if you’re around!