You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Baby

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!).

41 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. She's a Maineiac
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 09:17:19

    I think you are amazing for doing that! Public speaking is a huge fear of mine. I don’t know if I could ever do it. I just panic. Good for you, Misty.


  2. Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 09:52:08

    You are amazing and brave for getting up there at all. Off to read the piece. Some things are better on the page.


  3. Todd Pack
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 09:54:26

    You know, the important thing is that you got up there and did it. Listen: We’re writers. We aren’t performers. We aren’t entertainers. That’s a whole different skill set. You don’t develop those skills, though, if you don’t give it a shot, which you did, so congratulations for getting up there! You know, a lot of the people in the audience, maybe most of the people in the audience, didn’t do that!


  4. ifUseekAmy
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 10:11:42

    I’m so bummed that I didn’t stay around for this…I totally would have laughed and would have shot eye daggers at all those around me who didn’t.

    Brava for getting up there and reading your piece. For a millisecond, I thought about it and then I remembered how terrified of public speaking I am.


    • mistyslaws
      Aug 21, 2012 @ 13:11:52

      Were you there that night? It was Friday night. I wish you had been there so you could punch those non-laughers in the belly. Then at least they would be making a sound!


      • ifUseekAmy
        Aug 22, 2012 @ 17:15:38

        I was at BlogHer during the day, but I didn’t stick around for the nighttime activities. I wish that session/event had happened just a little bit earlier and then I probably would have attended. I’ve got your back next time, though 😉


  5. Vesta Vayne
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 10:26:39

    I totally would have squeed for you when they called your name (that really, really didn’t sound right).

    So, public speaking – in grad school a paper I wrote was accepted into a big conference. I was excited and nervous. Whoever set up the speaking schedule really screwed me, as they grouped my presentation with a bunch of future rocket scientists. Like, for real, Cal-tech genius boys. When I got up to read, everyone looked utterly confused, as though I hijacked the stage or something. It was…well, let’s just say I feel your pain:)


    • mistyslaws
      Aug 21, 2012 @ 13:13:43

      Sounded totally right to me! 😉

      Oh man, that is rough. Like, “who is this wee chick talking about things that us brilliant nerd boys know nothing about?” Ouch.


  6. wcdameron
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 11:05:09

    You did it! Misty, I am really proud of you. You tackled a fear and make no bones about it, public speaking is more fearful to many people than death.

    I was a music major and had to quit because I developed paralyzing stage fright. But, it turned out that the fear was based on not being able to remember an hours worth of music. I can talk for ages, so public speaking as opposed to public performance of music, is not a big fear of mine.


    • mistyslaws
      Aug 21, 2012 @ 13:15:26

      Thanks. I was kinda proud I did it, too. I just wish someone had thought it was funny. That is the roughest part. You know, because I think I’m funny, but I’ve been told by others that I’m not. This was a room full of women. Aren’t women supposed to think I’m funny. Sigh. Apparently not.


  7. Brett Minor (@brettminor)
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 11:34:00

    I have been in front of people speaking literally hundreds of times, so any stage fright I may have had when I was younger is definitely gone by now. The biggest part of it is just getting comfortable. For people that don’t do it that often, that is a little more difficult. Getting stressed and anxious makes it more difficult to remember what you were going to say and shows on the stage.

    Since I enjoy public speaking, I may not be the person to ask for advice.


    • mistyslaws
      Aug 21, 2012 @ 13:16:53

      The weird thing is that, although I was a bit nervous, I wasn’t paralyzed by fear, nor did I forget what I was going to say (it was written in front of me, and I went over it again once I knew I would speak. Still bombed though. Guess it’s just one of those things.


  8. Mayor Gia
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 13:01:31

    Bah! If i ever publicly spoke I’m sure people would start whispering “She’s Mayor Gia? I’m shocked by her lack of funny in person. The humor must come from Boyfriend.”

    I’m sure you did better than you thought.


  9. madtante
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 13:05:24

    I bomb everyday. Self-diagnosed (and by everybody who has an ADD kid) as being ADHD, I’m spastic and talk fast and don’t think or listen to myself. The worst was the off-the-cuff hilarious joke about a baby coffin. Normally, I say “opinions are like assholes: everybody has them and they all stink” but that one? That’s on me. There’s no real “good” time for a baby coffin joke in a room of mixed people. You just don’t know who that’s going to HURT let alone, who’s going to be as adept at gallow’s humor as I am.

    As for public speaking, see above.


    • mistyslaws
      Aug 21, 2012 @ 13:18:42

      Yeah, I can see how that would have to be timed pretty perfectly. Right set of people, right setting, enough alcohol, etc. At least you try. I’m sure it’s not all bad, right? 🙂


  10. Kitten Thunder's Girl
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 13:40:48

    Good job, you! I hate going up after a great speaker. I’ve been there.

    I was a debater in high school and was actually quite good. But my coach decided that I couldn’t just do one event so I had to develop an interpretation piece. I tried oratory (10 minute speeches) and I tried poetry. That was just painful for everyone. It was a very lucky day for me when my coach forgot to register me for debate and they squeezed me into Student Congress so I’d have something to do that weekend. You don’t have to interp if you StuCo.

    I still judge speech & debate for the local high schools and community college. And I get very whiney if they make me judge poetry. Seriously. It’s painful for everyone.


    • mistyslaws
      Aug 21, 2012 @ 13:20:35

      Ok, so no poetry? Got it. 😉

      I so wish I took some type of debate or speech in HS. But back then I was paralyzingly shy and awkward and would not have even thought to do that. I think it would have helped me out later in life, though. Missed opportunity.


  11. bluzdude
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 18:19:29

    My only tip is PREPARATION! I’d pore over every post to make sure it was appropriate for my crowd, and then practice the crap out of it.

    I’m guessing your lack of reaction was indeed due to following a couple of screamers. Just bad timing… couldn’t be helped. I know you bring The Funny here…


    • mistyslaws
      Aug 21, 2012 @ 13:21:29

      Yeah, I think there were multiple factors. I thought it would match the room, based on the description of the event, but apparently I should have just picked any piece at random that was funnier. Oh well, at least I did it.


  12. cornfedgirl
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 19:40:55

    You did great! Don’t sell yourself short.


    • mistyslaws
      Aug 21, 2012 @ 13:22:27

      You are contractually obligated to say such things, being as you were there when I got off the stage in that silent room, and being my friend. Don’t mess with me, I know the law! :p


  13. mark
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 23:24:14

    I’m sure you rocked it, and I’m totally impressed that you got up there and did it. In my early teens I gave a talk to a genealogical club in a small city that surely bored them all to tears. I haven’t been invited back since.


    • mistyslaws
      Aug 21, 2012 @ 13:23:18

      Maybe they were so stunned by your brilliance, that they don’t want to sulley the exquisite moment by trying to recreate it. You know any attempts to recreate brilliance often falls flat, right? 😉


  14. Jessica
    Aug 14, 2012 @ 00:33:34

    Crickets or no crickets, it takes some major guts to stand up and read something in front of a crowd. Rock on, Ninja Snap!


    • mistyslaws
      Aug 21, 2012 @ 13:24:03

      Ha! Thanks. Maybe they would have been more impressed if I had just shown slides of my whacked pics. Actually, now that I think of it, that would have been MUCH better. Sadly, this was not an option.


  15. Go Jules Go
    Aug 14, 2012 @ 11:56:32

    I am so in awe of you, Misty! This story blew me away (and yes, I DO feel smug that I got to hear it in person).

    AND this is where Ninja Snap came from. Perfect.

    I think sometimes feeling homesick is really refreshing; it’s so easy to feel like you’re missing out on stuff, that it’s nice to sit back and go, “Yeah. Okay. I’m happy right here at home.” I love NYC, but it can definitely have that ‘looney/sad’ effect.


  16. Starle
    Aug 14, 2012 @ 14:11:46

    I would totally have done that. My only problem is that I might laugh too hard at myself and the dumbshit things that I do.
    I so want to come next year. What is 3000 miles between bloggers?


  17. Valerie
    Aug 14, 2012 @ 22:09:51

    What a fantastic time you had!!! So jealous! And what a nickname. :o) You know I love ninjas! I would love to go next year!




  18. pegoleg
    Aug 15, 2012 @ 15:06:41

    You are ten kinds of amazing for getting up on stage and risking the cricket chorus, NS. I applaud your courage!


  19. Trackback: Empire State of Mind: BlogHer ’12 « Misty's Laws

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