There are a lot of fantastic posts about what people learned at the Storymaker conference.
This isn’t one of them.
Instead I’m going to let you all in on my embarrassing/less-than-graceful adventures, with the promise that if you come next year, there’s a good chance that there’ll be more of these. Yay.
Here’s an equation: Kaylee + Lack-of-sleep + stress + large groups of people + consciously-trying-to-be-professional = Disaster.
Thursday night was the Publication Primer, which is AMAZING. And I’m not just saying that because I spent hours and hours (and hours) of time putting it together this year. Imagine fantastic, published instructors helping people get their first ten pages publication ready over five hours of time and that is the Publication Primer.
Everything went so smooth. We had the last minute problems of not enough tables and no one knowing where they were supposed to be, but those things are bound to happen. The experience, overall, was successful. But, I guess my subconscious didn’t know that.
That night I went back to my hotel room where I was sharing with my mom, my sister, and my sweet 11 month old niece who had an ear infection. You should all be grateful that I had this arrangement going and that I shared a bed with my mom instead of any of you.
I slept okay.
Mom did not.
When I woke up Friday morning, my disheveled, exhausted mom was giving me the death stare. She said, “You STEAL the covers. You TALK in your sleep. You tossed and turned ALL night long. AND YOU PUNCHED ME IN THE FACE!”
Here’s the thing. I remember the punch. I was dreaming that my niece was falling off the bed and I reached out to save her—thus punching my mom in the face. It woke me up a little, I slurred out an apology and went back to sleep. The talking thing? I NEVER talk in my sleep. Ask my husband (I did.) But I was talking there. I was waking my mom and sister up with the things I was saying so they started writing them down—things like: “Tristan, you’re going to scratch yourself!”
*I think this is a good time to say that I’m looking for roommates next year for Storymaker 15. I’m entertaining…*
Incidents #2 and #3
There’s this panel every year at Storymakers that’s my favorite. A moderator reads the first page of a few manuscripts and the visiting agents will raise their hand when it gets to the place where they would have stopped reading if it had come from the slush pile. They then explain why they would have stopped there. It’s informative and fascinating and scary all rolled into one.
Well, about twenty minutes into this panel, I remembered that I was supposed to hand out feedback forms in the class that I had been a room host for. I figured I could sneak out of the panel, hand out the forms, and be back in to catch the last few manuscripts. Not a big deal.
Except I don’t even know what happened next. One minute I’m sliding my chair away from the table as quietly as possible, the next I’m sprawled on the ground next to my overturned chair. So much for SNEAKING and QUIET.
The girl beside me helped me right my chair and I left without making eye contact with anyone. Although I was in the back, and I’d like to believe most people hadn’t seen it happen, I still didn’t go back to the panel when I was done with the feedback forms.
THEN that night, after the Publisher’s mingle, I was moving tables back into place for classes the next day when I tripped hard over a cord in the middle of the room. Only one of the publishers witnessed this (along with the few people helping us put the room together) and I blame that one on pure exhaustion.
Incident #3 (the most embarrassing of them all)
Dinner Friday night. I had the Santa Fe Chicken and although it wasn’t too spicy, I was still really thirsty. I drank all my water just while waiting for my meal, and by the time I took two bites, I needed more to drink.
I tried waving down a server, but they were all really busy and none of them saw me. I was sitting in the front, to the right side of the room, and I could see all of the water and lemonade pitchers sitting on trays not too far from me. I figured I would go grab a water pitcher and bring it back to the table. (I drink A LOT of water at dinner. A friend once counted that I drank five glasses of water the last time we doubled—more than the other three of them combined).
I was not aware that the pitchers were balanced on a tray in a particular way that kept the tray from falling. So, I picked up the water pitcher and the ENTIRE TRAY of pitchers of lemonade (several full pitchers, people) flipped over, flinging several gallons of lemonade on the wall, the floor, everywhere. It was so loud. Horrifyingly loud. And I saw it coming but I couldn’t stop it.
Plus, in the sort of timing that can only happen in sitcoms or my life, Melanie Jacobson needed me to help her with something, so as I was dumping lemonade all over the conference center floor, she was calling my name over the mike, asking if anyone knew where I was. CRASH. Lemonade. People looking. Waiters probably wanting to kill me.
I’d sacrificed a lot of dignity to get my water pitcher, so I held it while I found a waiter to confess my mess to—a waiter who would not give me his rag so I could start cleaning up. I get why they wouldn’t let me clean it up, but it kind of goes against everything I teach my kids, you know. Make a mess, let someone else clean it up. Nice, but not good.
And I won't even get into the time I broke down crying in the bookstore on the shoulder of Julie Ford and her niece in front of everyone shopping before the big book signing or the halo-hair disaster that prompted someone to give me her travel hair product as an intervention.
After this, I had several people tell me some of their embarrassing moments, which is one of my highlights. There’s something about sharing embarrassing moments that bonds people together, you know?
What were your favorite parts of the conference? Any less-than-graceful moments?