Last week, I attended the BlogHer conference in New York City. There were highs and there were lows, but mostly it was a lot of fun. I got to meet some really great people, and spend time comparing stories and blogging tips with them. I attended very few sessions, and found that the ones I did actually sit through, were not really all that helpful. I got to go out and see the city, even though I only really got to experience a few places outside of the hotel, and was disappointed that there was not more time (and money) to sightsee. I did get to see some incredible shitshows of humanity all packed into a block full of flashing lights, huge billboards, tourists and sad people dressed up as characters, hoping to be paid for their efforts, i.e. Times Square. That was interesting. And overwhelming. And a little sad, not gonna lie. But the entire experience left me feeling more homesick than I thought I ever would. Weird.
One of the highlights of the trip and the most anticipated event, was the Voices of the Year extravaganza, wherein some very funny and very brilliant writers were chosen to present one of their submitted blog posts for the entire assembled conference. The first speaker was my good friend and blogger, Elizabeth from Flourish in Progress. I have decided that she is indeed my friend now because I actually got to meet her and talk to her for about 15 whole minutes while I was at BlogHer. So we are besties now, of course. Slumber parties and hair braiding to follow, I’m sure!
She was completely hysterical and wonderful reading her piece. I know she was super nervous, especially since she had to go first, but she pulled it off like a pro. It was fantastic. This is the Video of her reading. See? Told you she was fantastic. And in case you want to read the actual post for yourself, this is the blog post she read: To the person who stole my Taco Bell Gordita savings fund.
Since I video’d the entire speech, I sadly was not able to get any pictures of her up on stage while she was actually reading. However, I was able to capture a picture of her when they brought all the readers out on stage afterwards. She’s the tiny Asian girl in the adorable pink/orange dress. Isn’t she the cutest little thing? Don’t let her sweet innocent face fool you though. She is a bad ass gangsta chick that will shank you as soon as look at you. You’ve been warned!
After this big deal of a shindig, there was a reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres, wherein we were able to mingle with everyone. Sadly (for me!), Elizabeth was the bell of the ball after her reading, and I was only able to quickly congratulate her, give her a tiny token of my love and fidelity, and then she was off mingling with her adoring fans. I would not see her again until the next evening, where I was able to catch her for a quick chat before she took her private car off to fabulous times in far off cities. She is just so famous and popular that frankly, I was honored and pleased to have been able to share her for just a few wee moments.
Once the reception was over, we headed off to an event that I had actually been looking forward to attending and even participating in. Which is so very unlike me, I’m not even sure what got into me. There was an open mic/karaoke type event, where any blogger there could throw their name into a hat and give a reading of one of their blog posts. Ostensibly, it was to be a “Listen to your Mother” themed event, wherein you read posts either about your mother or being a mother, but most people didn’t really follow those guidelines, and pretty much read whatever they wanted. Even though I do not have a mommy blog, I wanted to participate, and thought I had the perfect post. My Dinner Time is My Vietnam post. It’s an older post. I wrote it in September of last year. It’s all about my kids not listening to me at dinner, and I thought it would be funny. I don’t know why I was so gung-ho on reading, up on stage, in front of a bunch of people I don’t know, this writing piece that I had created. Just writing that last sentence, it seems like the most horrendous form of hell on earth ever. But for some reason, I was all for it. So, I submitted my entry, and then waited for my name to be called. And waited. And waited. And . . . . waited.
During the wait, other names were called and other people got up on that stage and read. Some were really great and funny. Some were touching. Some were long and torturous and depressing. But none of them were me! Yet. Then it happened . . . they called MY NAME. Oh man!! I was so excited. I’m sad to report that there was squeeing involved. It wasn’t pretty. While I waited to give my reading, sure of the fact that I would do so much better than those other readers that had already gone, a reader two spots in front of me got up and killed it. I mean, laughing so hard you can’t breathe and tears come to your eyes kind of killing it. She was actually a VOTY reader who had read a very serious and politically/racially charged post earlier that night. It was wonderful. But the piece she read here was a completely frivolous yet poop your pants funny reading. (It was about pooping her pants, btw). And I? I had to go after her. Uh-oh.
I was super nervous at this point. Wondering to myself, “exactly why did you want to do this again? What possessed you to think that public speaking all of a sudden was your thing? Oh shit, I actually have to go stand up there and read this thing now, don’t I? Oh no.” But I did. I stood up, climbed up on that dias, and read my piece.
To silence. That’s right. Nobody laughed. Nobody grabbed their sides from the pain of laughing so hard. Nobody wiped their eyes from the tears of joy that came from hearing the hilarity I was speaking. Nobody lost their breath because of the laughter coming so fast and hard. Not. A. Sound. It was deafening.
I exited the stage to polite applause, and was reassured by my friends that I did great. I knew they were lying, but of course that’s what you tell someone who bombs, right? “It was great!!” No, no it wasn’t. I have a good amount of self-realization, and I am also not deaf. There was no laughing. There was just silence.
But even though it was dreadful and nobody laughed at what I thought was a funny piece, it’s ok. I still think the piece is funny. Maybe it’s just not read it to the public and have them laugh funny. Maybe my timing was off. Afterall, I’m not really great with the public speaking thing. I tried not to just read it from the page. I tried to add inflection, pauses, all the things that good public speakers are supposed to do. But it still fell flat. But you know what? I did it. I got up there and did it. And I’m proud of me. A little disappointed, but still ok with it.
And the bonus is that when we filled out our submission sheet, there was a space for “Prison Nickname.” Now, being named Misty, I have never had a real nickname, so I was at a loss. Luckily, my friends are much more creative than I, so I now have a nickname which I think fits me brilliantly:
See? This whole experience wasn’t a total loss. I at least got a kickass nickname out of the whole deal. I call that a win!
How are you at public speaking? Have you ever completely bombed? Do you have a great/horrible story about being on stage? Or are you a total pro? Any tips for me for the next time I get up on a stage? (Pfft, who am I kidding . . . that ain’t happening again!).