Friday, February 28, 2014

Video Killed The Quilting Humorist

After I put up Tuesday's post about my talk, I started thinking about it and wondering if maybe I should look at that video after all. In the last two days, two possibilities have arisen that would give the book a LOT more exposure and one of those possibilities would give me—as in my physical person—more exposure as well. (No, not naked, ya filthy freaks.) The possibility of that second one scared the living crap out of me, but I knew I'd never say no to it. I have to get used to being more public, and there's no way around it if I want to also sell the things I write.

So after everyone went to bed last night, I dug out the video and watched it.

And it was OK.

More than OK, it was a hell of a lot better than I had remembered. People laughed quite a bit more than I had realized. I didn't stutter or stumble on my words as much as I remembered. My neck did do that awful spotty flushing thing, and it's pretty clear now what I mean when I say I am "oddly shaped." But a month later, with a little perspective, it wasn't nearly as bad as I had made it out in my own head to be.

These last couple months have not been easy, and the process of grieving and trying to help my youngest daughter through her own grief took its toll. It has been very easy for me to dismiss myself and do the easy thing of thinking I am not worthy of anyone's attention. I actually started thinking that the next time I write a book, I will just sell it through Amazon under a pseudonym and I'll never have to deal with publicity and marketing and people asking me to come speak at their quilt shops and guild meetings.

In the last few days I have started to see light peeking through all that gloom. I started to get excited about writing again. I started to remember that every great thing I have ever done, I was completely terrified of doing at first. And those things that I kept doing, I got better—even good—at.

Part of my talk was about going on even when you feel like a big failure. After my talk, I felt like I had proven I wasn't cut out for being a "public" person, but when I decided to prove it to myself by looking at the evidence, I realized I was wrong. Sure, I need practice. But I can do this again. Probably. Maybe after today, it won't even be an issue!

So, here it is. Feedback welcome. Kind feedback, I should say. I know there's a long tradition on YouTube of leaving comments that suggest the subject of the video is ugly and should die, but let's try to refrain from that, shall we?

I had to split the video into two parts because YouTube will not accept videos longer than 15 min, and the whole thing was 20. So, if you can spare 20 minutes, I recommend watching the whole thing so you can get to the reading at the end, which is the best part.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Talk talk

Okay, I'm starting to get the trickle of emails and Facebook messages that all say, "Where the hell are you, woman?" Where I am is...right here. Things have been, while not awful, not magically wonderful either, and the last month or so has just been a slog.

I did indeed do my lecture at Capital Quilts on February 2, and despite all my assertions and declarations to my husband beforehand, I did not die. I did a lot of copious sweating, there may have been a dry heave or two, and there was a serious case of stress-related and Singapore-noodle-exacerbated heartburn on the way home, but I did make it all the way through without panicking and bolting for the door mid-sentence.

This is what I look like when I am talking in front of people. My arms and hands flap around a lot:

There were a lot more people in the room than I was expecting, but it was still a small crowd. From my perspective, it looked like an endless sea of disapproving faces:

I decided to do a reading from a recent issue of GenQ, since I thought it worked well for reading in a quilt shop. I think that part went the best. And, god, I really need a chin reduction.

Then I signed books. Like 4 or 5. It was not a big seller.

This lady was so sweet and declared herself to be my "stalker."

Afterwards, I grabbed the people I knew and made them eat Chinese food with me. Here are my wonderful lunch companions. Recognize that dude on the right?

That's Mark, the first cover model of the QSMASBC and one of only two people to appear in all three calendars. His lovely wife Ida is a dear and I adore them both. Thanks to both of them for the pictures of me speaking and signing shown above.

And this is Kimberly:

She and I met through a small, secret Facebook group of which we are both members and which is comprised of very smart, hilarious, wonderful women who all curse like sailors and occasionally like to sew stuff. We tend to have long FB conversations about blow jobs and menopause and just about anything else you can think of with candor and humor and a lot of kindness. They may not know it, but they have helped me a lot through the last couple of months.

And she made me this sweet little pouch to hold my vodka and Xanax for the next speaking engagement!

And, oh, look— it's sitting on notes for my talk!

Kimberly and Ida and Mark all drove down to Gaithersburg, MD from Pennsylvania just to see me. It meant a lot for me to have some friendly faces there, and to have people to block the exits.

David took a video of the entire lecture, which is not long since I started talking really fast and skipped a bunch of stuff I had initially prepared because the crowd didn't quite look like they were feelin' it, but I have not watched it. David promised someone it would go on You Tube eventually, but I didn't promise that, and it's in my possession now and I know how to use the delete key. I may save it and put it in some sort of lock box to be opened 100 years after my death. Even then, I'm sure the tattered remains of my corpse will still want to die of embarrassment.

Still, it was fun and I'm glad I did it, but I'm even more glad it's over. Now I have to start getting ready for Quilt Market in Pittsburgh this May. I am hoping to "promote" my book, though I'm not sure how I'm going to do that. I don't have a booth or anything, because even if I could afford a booth or knew how to set one up, they don't let people who have self-published one book have a booth. Still, I do sell it through GenQ, and we may do a book signing at their booth one day, and the rest of the time, when not shooting pics for GenQ, I will be sneaking promo copies into shop owners' tote bags and possibly down the back of David Butler's pants or under Ricky Tims' cowboy hat. If nothing else, I am determined that this will finally be the Market where I get to go to Sample Spree. See, I really only give a shit about the fabric shopping. Personal success is far too stressful.