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The season for trying wings

Neighboring birds aren’t the only noisemakers during spring start-up.

Humans sometimes allow themselves to flap and crow unrepressed, too. Maybe the rain and sun has reconstituted a dormant fertilizer for growing new starts within our abilities. Such was the case for me about three months ago during our pre-spring, when I blurted yes to a request that’s fast approaching. It lands this Wednesday.

Trudy Eyraud with the Eagle Point Women’s Club kindly asked if I would consider speaking for their April luncheon at the Rogue Valley Country Club. The nudge to speak publicly had grown beefier. A couple other groups had asked, without any follow-through on my part. When Trudy approached, the time felt right, more like a mandate, a kick in the rear from a loving parent. Like, OK, enough hiding behind your screen. You writers! Now I had a book I could climb behind and read from while burying my face inside the pages. Speaking was the last thing on earth I would have chosen to do a few short years ago. Now, some cosmic compulsion has tricked me into actually looking forward to it.

I was greatly relieved to learn their expectations were low. I knew because of this sentence in the email, “Let us know if you’re interested and what, if anything, you charge.” Phew. I confessed to Trudy I was not a professional speaker, had no training in this area, and probably would say “uh” a lot. A free lunch would more than suffice for my effort. In fact, I may offer to clear the tables. Also, I don’t know how to move my hands, and I know hand movement is a vital aspect of effectively engaging an audience.

She assured me most of their speakers aren’t professionals. Now, this is not a negative light on the brave EPWC. Not at all. They need a speaker each month, and genuine speakers can come at quite a cost, plus finding one could be a challenge. Good thing she asked me three months ago, or I may have been tied up at the Moda Center. As I felt the bar lowering, I began thinking maybe I could really try this thing; with a welcoming audience, I think I can.

So, I asked Trudy about a topic. I mean, the choices are fairly narrow. The prix fixe menu might include my world of writing, how I got my start, or possibly books I’ve thought about writing. I can expound on the subjects of querying agents and how I got my start. I already said that.

Since it’s the season for unbridled flings into the impossible and to remove my mind from the looming peril of standing before a room full of women better educated than I, it was time to take the adult Jeopardy online test. Fools know few bounds.

I nearly missed the start of the test, when I realized I’d forgotten both my user name and password. It was a race against the clock to get new links sent and reset etc., etc., etc. I figured if I didn’t have the cranial fortitude to sign in, what hope would there be?

The test began. There are 50 questions in 50 different categories. I had trouble defining a few of the answers, let alone coming up with a viable question. Fifteen seconds tick by like, 15 seconds. OK, so I didn’t do well. I tried and had fun. By the way, the actual test is far more difficult than the practice test or J6 clues, for those familiar. After all, they need to weed out thousands of springtime optimists, of which I plan to always be one.

As for the speech, I will have someone stationed at the door checking bags for rotten tomatoes and other overripe fruits. And if they’re not nice to me, there’s always next week’s column. #takingnames.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer open for business. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com and follow her on Facebook.