You know, I was having a perfectly normal day yesterday. Got the girls up, dressed, and fed. Drove everyone to their destinations. Went to the grocery store.
I am still in the habit of checking my Blackberry every 20 seconds for emails, even though the reason I needed to do so - my job with a local, regional magazine - no longer exists. Still, blog comments are forwarded to me as emails, and I will freely admit to pretty much freebasing my emotional highs off every compliment that y'all leave here. You're like my own personal brand of heroin.
So, I think I was carrying groceries into the house when I checked for mail, and there was a message on the new gmail account I have set up for just the blog. It was from the Program Director of a local quilt guild, who had read my work in Quilter's Home, found the blog, and wanted to know what my fees were for lectures/presentations and whether I might be available in the next year.
I KNOW, RIGHT?
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, slowed my heartbeat to reasonable levels, and changed my underwear, I immediately called my husband, who of course did not answer, forcing me to leave a long and slightly hysterical message.
Now, doing lectures/presentations (I think for what I do, they should be called "routines") has always been a part of The Big Plan, a plan which includes publishing a book in the next two years. But I always assumed that hitting the road wouldn't happen without the book, and the book won't happen until I have more published work under my belt. As odd as I am about certain social situations, I actually love public speaking, and think that I would be really good at taking this show on the road, so to speak.
But never in a million, bajillion years did I think that someone would jump the gun on me and ask me to speak NOW.
I had no idea what to say, and, honestly, no idea what sort of presentation she was expecting I might be prepared to do, so I immediately contacted Jake Finch, one of my editors at Quilter's Home. She has tons of experience in this arena, being a lecturer/teacher herself, and so I knew she would give me good advice. About two minutes after the email went through, I got a message back: I'm calling you in 5 minutes.
Jake seemed very excited and at the same time not the least bit surprised that someone would want me to do this. She told me I need to have several presentations for a guild to choose from, at least 3, and that there must be a visual element to it. I can't just stand up there and say funny stuff for an hour (oh, and that's another thing - AN HOUR?). And even though some people do slide shows, she said having tangible items, even if they aren't all quilts, was vital, and that there should be at least 20 things. TWENTY. I don't think I've even made twenty things yet, and the next three things on my slate are going to be given away. She also had a lot of good advice about contracts and payment and mileage, and that I should absolutely NOT censor myself except for maybe not saying "fuck" so much. Or, like, at all.
I think Jake truly thought I should come up with three presentation possibilities immediately and go ahead and book my date with the guild for 2011 so I'd have time to prepare, but I just couldn't do that. Even given a year to get ready, it just seemed dishonest to go, "My fee is $300, plus mileage. I require 3 bottles of San Pellegrino mineral water, chilled to EXACTLY 38.6 degrees, placed by the podium on a stool that has been carved from the bones of Moroccan camel herders AND EVERYTHING SHOULD BE PAINTED WHITE AND NO RED M&MS!"
So I wrote the nice lady back, and said that I was floored and flattered by her request, but could not book a date until I was more prepared. I also asked if they would care to be my guinea pig audience for my first presentation, free of charge.
So, now that I've gotten some advice from an expert lecturer, I need some advice from an expert audience: you. Would you be interested in some sort of Bitchy Stitcher-style presentation at your quilt guild? Do you think such a presentation has to be accompanied by several quilts and or other items? What do you think makes a good lecture? What do you hate about lectures that you think I should never, ever do? Keep in mind that I have absolutely nothing to teach anyone about quilting. Okay, I could teach someone who has never touched a sewing machine a lot about quilting, but guilds aren't full of neophytes. Anything I would do would be about humor and fun, and would not be instructive (unless you want to learn how to come up with really creative obscenities). Would you want to listen to someone for an hour who wasn't teaching you anything?
As always, I am indebted to you all for your help and support.