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Imagine the theme from The Lone Ranger. . .

brumph brumph brumph pump pump!  Imagine the beat of the horses’ hooves.  That’s the way I feel right now, as if everything is rising to a climax around me.  Like others, I’m in the final preparation stages for a week surrounded by other writers (good fun) and scary people like agents and editors.  I know I’m not supposed to think of them as scary people — as the Dutch proverb goes (according to my father) they put on their pants one leg at a time just like everyone else — but I can’t say I approach my opportunities to pitch with complete confidence and tranquility.  Nor am I entirely sure that I won’t say something supremely stupid to somebody somewhere else or fail, in my agitation, to recognize someone who recognizes me . . . oh dear.  And then, to be entirely contradictory about it, I’m really looking forward to the week!

Honestly, I’ve been around long enough, and have four adult children to prove it, so that you would expect me to have a polished calm smile and if not a queenly sweeping entrance at least something a little above a nervous scuttle, but if there’s anything life has taught me, it’s that I’m capable of making a complete hash of things.  And having been around for a while, as proved above, I have many glorious episodes to remember.  Like the time I was in the buffet line at a wedding, had just collected a plateful of food, and then slipped in my splendid new shoes, threw the plate in the air as I fell and the contents were distributed neatly down the entire length of the unfortunate waiter standing at the side.  That was very early in our marriage, and one of the things that persuaded me I’d found a keeper was that in the shocked hush that followed, the good man came up from where he’d been a short distance behind talking with friends and claimed me.  I don’t know if I would have!

So here I am zestfully looking forward to a weeklong theater of possible disasters.  Will I miss my step when I’m marched in the little line to the editor/agent’s table and slide gracefully into her lap?  Will I slip on some stairs — there are always stairs — and fall the length of the staircase and instead of being unconscious be relatively unharmed and have to scramble to my feet in a gathering circle of horrified onlookers?  Will I think I know someone and greet them with enthusiasm and the wrong name?  The mind boggles.

Do you have any all-too-vivid memories of the times you got it wrong, or do you have to have many years, like me, to collect a reasonable sampling?  The comforting truth I can share with you all is that you do survive even the worst things.  And later — truthfully, sometimes a lot later — you can even laugh about them.  Or maybe use them in a book!


8 Responses

  1. Beppie: a world without disasters and public humiliation would be a world without humor. Listen… I just typed “pubic” and almost forgot the “L.” Talk about a faux pas.

    Just know, that you’re certainly not alone and your foibles make you endearing. It’s why we readers embrace imperfect characters. Because there is no such thing, perfection, unless it’s in nature. (Not we humans) Nice post! Glad you flagged it.

  2. Thanks, Cheryl — pubic humiliation would be a dreadful condition indeed! Welcome to the crowd of those of us who get it wrong — only you had the good sense to catch it in time.

    And thanks. As my children used to say, real thanks.

  3. Beppie, how wonderful that he came and claimed you after that…LOL

    I’ve had some pretty embarrassing moments myself, so I feel for you. One time that comes to mind is when I walked into the wall and knocked myself out cold. Though only my husband witnessed it as it happened in our apartment, but still…LOL Another time I walked into a glass window that I thought was a door. The entire building (a round rotunda type) was all glass and darn it, the doors blended right in! I split my lip and had to listen to my husband, BIL & SIL chuckle softly the whole drive home…LOL

    You’ll be fine in Orlando, no worries! See you in a few days! 🙂

  4. How fortunate all you did was split a lip! Another friend of mine walked through a glass door and wound up with a couple of cuts that required stitches. (Fortunately the hospital was right next door to the scene of the injury!)

    It’ll be so good to see you. Breakfast on Thursday, right?

  5. I was on the debate team in high school and was doing a speech on drilling for oil. I was supposed to say geologist but said gynecologist instead. Nothing is worse than the blush you can get at 16.

  6. Oh, Beppie, I know why he claimed you. It’s because in your embarrassment you looked absolutely gorgeous.

    You’ll have a great time, Beppie.


  7. I’ve done the window thing, too. Only to me it looked like an open door. Thankfully no one was around, but I still felt stupid.

    As for the rushing up to enthusiastically greet someone only to get their name wrong…not sure if what I do is any better. Because I’m afraid of doing that exact thing, I hold back and I’m sure I miss out on a lot more than you do.

    Looking forward to a hug in Orlando! I’m pretty sure I’ll recognize you, and if not, we can look at each others badges. *grin*

  8. Ladies — all of you but specifically Jill (!), Sandy, and Stacey — how I do appreciate and treasure you! It’s wonderful to feel that no matter what dumb things I am capable of doing — and never doubt my capacity — whenever I issue a plea for help (or often even if I don’t) I have you guys to show up for me. Little did I know when I responded to Amy’s announcement all those years ago what riches I’d find within the loop.

    I can hardly wait to hug you all in person, and Sandy, grab the very enthusiastic hug in absentia that’s flying in your direction!

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