I never had any trouble identifying with my other jobs. I was a teacher, a secretary (administrative assistant, I guess, is the correct term now), an Outreach Coordinator, and even a "temp." But although I tell people I'm a writer when they ask what I do, it doesn't feel real. So, this weekend, when I was the featured speaker at a fund raising tea for the Ridge Area Arc, and the organizer welcomed everyone, I kept looking around for the "multi-published author" she was raving about.
The event was held at a lovely tea room. Very "exactly what you think it should look like." I arrived early, and one of the tea room hostesses showed me the lectern and explained how to use their microphone. Not being known for my soft-spoken tones, I've never really used a mic. But she took great pains to explain how to turn it on (push the lever on the bottom on "on,") and to be sure to keep the mic very close to my mouth. We won't discuss the rather phallic appearance of the instrument. And, she warned, I was to make sure that if I turned my head, I kept the mic moving with me. Since the layout of the room was an "L" shape, I knew I would have to do actual head-turning to attempt to make some sort of eye contact. Okay, things to worry about. As if talking to 100 people who had paid money for this event wasn't enough.
I took my seat at the head table, and a very sweet stereotypical little old lady sat next to me, "so she could hear the speaker, whom she was so looking forward to. I told her I'd try to speak loud enough for her to hear. It took a moment or two, but eventually she realized she was talking to that anticipated speaker. She asked if I'd put her amplifier gizmo on the lectern. I said of course, and I also told her if she couldn't hear my talk, I'd give her the printout. Somehow, I didn't think telling her she could read it on my website would fly. I've got o say, her delight at that little gesture made the entire day worthwhile for me.
So, when it was my turn to speak (after a very nice lunch, and right before the raffle drawings, so nobody would leave), I did an abbreviated version of getting into writing by mistake, and then read the character interviews I did with Frankie and Ryan for When Danger Calls.
Normally, I prefer an informal, interactive, "just ask me stuff" kind of program, but since these folks were paying for a "speaker" I felt obligated to "speak." Since I didn't memorize my interviews (afraid I'd forget and fumbling and stammering is worse than reading--although I did practice), I had to rely on my printout, and between making sure I kept the mic where it belonged (and figuring out which hand to hold it in so I could turn pages), glancing at the audience, remembering the 3 tables in the L, and trying not to talk so fast nobody could understand me, I got through. They even laughed in the right places, and clapped when I finished (although that might have been because they were finally going to get to the raffle prizes)
My seating companion was delighted to get my printouts (and offered to copy and mail them back if I needed them). People bought my books. And the organizers put us up at a nice "suites" hotel so we didn't have to do the return trip the same day.
So, maybe I am an author.
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society