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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If You Do Something Long Enough…

If you do something long enough, eventually someone asks you to do it in public.

Stand back, peoples! I’m about to go, in the words of the great Bootsy Collins, “All the way live, baby”.

I’ve been asked to read my work at Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts in March. Whoo-hoo!

I am, of course, mildly terrified.

Have you ever read your own stuff in front of people? People you know, people you don’t? It’s a little like streaking, a little like confessing, a little like trying to talk your way out of a speeding ticket. You hope that what you have to offer is not ugly, not unforgivable, not something that makes you look like a babbling idiot.

Not that that ever happens to me.

Ahem.

When I was 6, my mother drove me to baton lessons on Saturday mornings. Oh, how I loved it. To twirl a shiny metal rod with white rubber caps on both ends, the possibility of future tassels fluttering as I threw the baton into the air?

It was Little Girl Heaven.

And then one day, all those Saturday morning lessons culminated in a Fourth of July parade. We wore blue shorts, white shirts, red bobby socks and white tennis shoes with little red pom-poms on them.

We were so special! Little girls squealing everywhere.

But the day of the parade, when we lined up and were ready to start marching (John Phillip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever” – my favorite march to this day) I realized, with the face-crumpling horror reserved for six-year-olds, that one of my pom-poms had fallen off. It wasn’t in the car, it wasn’t in the street; and as far as I can recall, we never saw that pom-pom again.

Oh, I was special all right.

I stood in the street, in line with the other red-white-and blue-clad girls, clutching my baton.

“You know what’s going to happen, don’t you?” my mother said.

I shook my head miserably, trying not to cry in front of the other girls.

“People on the sidewalks will look at you thinking, ‘Why does that girl have only one pom-pom? I’ll bet it’s because she’s the best one in the whole group.’”

“Do you think so?”

“What else could they think?”

My mother wouldn't lie to me; and by the time the parade started, I had myself convinced that it was only natural that anyone looking at my feet would – of course! – notice that I had only one pom-pom and that – of course! – this must mean that I am a very good baton twirler…

And that, my friends, may be the strategy I go with in March. I just may have to be the girl with one red pom-pom.

9 comments:

Braja said...

Hey, congratulations Pearl...you go girl, one pom pom boldness...

Fun blog, I'll be back here too :) Thanks for the visit; I just need to figure out how to be a follower and i'm on your list...

Braja
http://lostandfoundinindia.blogspot.com

derfina said...

WOOT! WTG, Pearl! Need me to send ya a xanax honey? I didn't need them ALL for roller coasters!

Pearl said...

Hi, Braja.
Glad to see you -- and I see you figured out the follower bit!

Hi, Derfina!
I was thinking beer, or, if I get all crazy, margaritas, but I could wash a couple pills down!
:-)
Pearl

Not The Rockefellers said...

Pearl, You mother is a quick thinker. That doesn't mean that I doubt that you had skillz. I just know that, that sort of hiccup would have frozen my daughter right up.

As for the public speaking? Rock it. It terrifies me but, I am putting myself in situations where I have to do it more.

Do you ever get over the butterflies, though?

Peace - Rene

Pearl said...

Hey, Rene.
My mother's a pip. :-)
I've read in public before, coffee houses and book stores, once on stage, and I've been nervous for every single one. Worst thing is that my mouth gets so dry! Well, I have several months to really polish some new stuff!
Pearl

Lilly's Life said...

CONGRATULATIONS PEARL - you go girl!!!! Who knows maybe a book deal could be around the corner - these things happen you know!

No I hate public speaking. People assume I am confident in this area because I appear to be outgoing but I am very shy in reality and hate to do that kind of thing.

Once I had to get up and speak in front of 100 staff I was managing - I was petrified. My 8 year old daughter (at the time) offered to do it for me. She grew up to love people and doesnt suffer stage fright in any sense. We are all different.

Just do it - you are that good, ok? Oh and have ONE stiff drink before hand. BUT JUST ONE PEARL!!!

Pearl said...

Lilly, I think I can handle one drink. :-) Actually, I'm going to save it for THREE drinks afterwards.

That's right -- I'm gonna go crazy!

Pearl

Patricia said...

Oh, I hate when it's months and months away. That much more time to fret about it. Just remember, everyone will be in awe that you
1. write stuff worthy of reading aloud and 2. that you're up there reading. YOU'LL DO FINE!

Sending good vibes your way.
xoxo

ICKY said...

I'm proud of you.
I will be there with bells on. You'll recognize me....I'll be the one with bells on.