I don’t talk with my hands.
Why should I? I’m a writer and a lover of words. No hand expressions are needed if the words are right when talking about writing.
Oh, how wrong I am.
In the past few months I’ve been invited to libraries and bookstores to speak about my writing and my books.
I have no problem with talking about my passion. Creating characters through the creative spirit is an easy subject for me to wax poetic. Out loud.
Turns out that writing about my passion is much easier than talking about it to a group of strangers (or worse, friends).
What if I can’t express myself well enough?
What if those who attend my presentations expect an answer to HOW TO WRITE A SUCCESSFUL BOOK?
(Answer: there is no answer…)
What if my voice doesn’t project, or it shakes, or I forget every bon mot that’s within my soul?
What if I’m – gasp – boring?
These are just a few of the inconsequential thoughts that race through me as I stand behind the podium a few weeks ago at a California library. The title of my presentation: The Journey of a Bird’s Tail…and Tale: Publishing a Children’s Picture Book.
Attendees are promised that:
“Pamela Wight will reveal her long journey, bird by bird, in making her dream come true. In her presentation, she shares her tale of writing her children’s book; finding an illustrator; allowing the story to simmer for way too long; and then the circuitous, rather serendipitous, journey to publication.”
The library’s Founder’s Room is packed. I should be pleased.
This is the library of the town where I lived for 20 years while raising my family, cultivating my craft of writing, and teaching creative writing classes to like-minded souls.
This is the library where now sit many of those writing souls. But also, where now sit long-time friends who have never read any of my books nor asked me a whit over the years of what the heck I actually do when I’m not at my “day job.”
This is the library where my son first got in trouble for running through the aisles chasing his 4-year-old sister, and where he now sits in the back with a nervous grin on his face, wondering what the heck his mother is going to say in front of this disparate group of people, some of whom he’s known since he was a toddler.
Once I begin, the fear recedes, and my words rev up as I speak passionately about what happens when we let go of our thinking mind and write with abandon.
The faces in front of me nod and encourage me with smiles, and I grow more self-assured. Then, finally, I forget myself entirely, and just let the words stream forth.
Success! The room glows by the time I’m finished with heartfelt questions and open wallets as attendees buy copies of Birds of Paradise.
The next day, I receive a text with some videos of my presentation.
Who IS that woman? The hand jiving going on is almost as good as Olivia Newton John’s.
But I don’t talk with my hands.
My words are all I need . . . right?