We’ll all be dead soon

About my recent presentation. I lived. I did my best to get centered beforehand, reading uplifting spiritual material in the AM and listening to soothing music on the way to the conference, but I don’t know how much that helped once it was actually my time to talk. I felt out of my element, stepping out from behind the computer screen (I’m so much cooler on line, LOL).

I do not pass myself off as a a teacher, but offered some tips I’ve picked up along the way at various writing workshops I’ve attended. Things that really helped me, and mattered to me, and things I believe made my writing stronger. It was hard to gauge where people were in their writing processes and I hoped I wasn’t repeating what they already knew. At the end, I miscalculated the time and thought I had 15 more minutes and thank God one of them told me I was going over. Whoopsie! 

I can’t say the audience was riveted by me. One person was nodding off (mine was the last presentation of the day and came an hour or so after lunch) and a couple of people couldn’t leave their phones alone, but most in the room were attentive and seemed sincere. I hope I gave them some things to think about and a nugget or two that will help them in their writing endeavors. A couple of kind souls thanked me afterward and I got some nice feedback from evaluations. I wasn’t told of any bad feedback, and I’m too scared to ask if there was any, though I probably should find out so I can learn.

I did sell some books and a couple of people shared their personal stories with me, which is a privilege and attests to the fact that when you air your own shame, you give others permission to do the same. 

After the conference I came home and unloaded the whole thing on HT, and he hugged me and decreed the person who was nodding off to have overdosed on tryptophan at lunch, and made me laugh and hugged me profusely and told me he was proud of me for being brave. I emailed a couple of dear friends, who sent their love and encouragement, and later I snuggled my kids and later still, talked a friend (who was having her own crises) off a ledge and the whole thing got further away.

Whatever we are worried about is so transient. I can’t even remember what I was worried about last week or last month, but I’m sure it was something.

My sister and I jokingly use the phrase, “We’ll all be dead soon,” whenever one of us is in pain. Morbid? Yes, but also a reminder not to make such a big deal of things and to know it’s all impermanent. This too shall pass.

So I’m not the world’s greatest public speaker. I guess it’s still okay to be me, right now, neurotic exactly as I am. There’s really no alternative.

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9 Responses to We’ll all be dead soon

  1. Lisa Romeo says:

    I’m sure you were a lot more teacher-ish than you let on and that folks learned from you!

    Meanwhile, remember there are plenty of people who – as Bridget Jones explained — like you “just as you are.”

    But wow – doesn’t it amaze you, as it does me – that ADULTS who have paid money to attend an educational event, spend the time texting and checking email? Sheesh.

  2. Meg says:

    “We’ll all be dead soon.” I like that. I have a sneaking hunch that you helped those writers more than you think you did. It’s just a hunch, but….

  3. The “we’ll all be dead soon” comment cracks me up — you are my kind of people. I imagine there were plenty of people who got the real you — the amazing, soulful, talented you.

  4. mom says:

    I love exactually who you are!!! Awesome, amazing, brave, full of love. Hugs–Mom

  5. Alanna Klapp says:

    Hi Michelle,

    I was in the nonfiction session and didn’t get to attend your class but hope I get to attend one of your classes in the future, and I have no doubt you were terrific and helpful to all the writers who attended. It was so great to meet you! I just ordered your book and am really looking forward to reading it! I hope to bring it next time I see you so you can sign it. 🙂

    Looking forward to reading more of your blog and keeping in touch! 🙂

  6. Carrie Link says:

    YAMH every day and twice on days you stick your pretty neck out there.

    If you ever want to see who can out neurotic the other, I’d be more than happy to.

  7. rhemashope says:

    “Whatever we are worried about is so transient.” This is so, so true. Such a good reminder. HT’s encouragement totally melts me. If I could I would have hugged you profusely and told you I am proud of you for being brave, too.
    And you are way cool in real life! Remember how we sat across from each other at that restaurant in the North End? It was kind of sensory overload meeting so many people, but I wish I could get that time back – to sit across from you and just talk.

  8. naomi says:

    You are totally worth listening to! The end 🙂

  9. amber says:

    “Whatever we are worried about is so transient. I can’t even remember what I was worried about last week or last month, but I’m sure it was something.”–

    Yep. I need to get this in tattoo form on my forehead.

    I’m sure you were great! You Libra people can be so hard on yourselves if you think you might not be perfect…You don’t have to be perfect to wonderful!! (and you are.)



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