The LDStorymakers conference is always a ton of fun. This is mostly because so many of the LDStorymakers are incurable hams. (As opposed to cured ham, which is something completely different.) In costume, they get up in front of a hundred strangers and perform skits and songs. Honestly, someone should send Tristi Pinkston to American Idol. James Dashner, our fearless MC was also a hoot—and the odd thing is that neither one of these people write comedies. James writes fantasy and Tristi writes tear-jerking historicals with names like: Strength to Endure. I will not go on with a complete rundown of the group as there are too many of them, but the next time you are reading one of Josi Kilpack, Shirley Bahlmann, or Julie Wright’s books think of them on stage wearing tiaras.
Perhaps the most memorable class for me was the one on public speaking—because I realized I’d been doing everything wrong. See, apparently you are never supposed to say the word, “Um” in front of a crowd.
I had to teach the next hour. Do you know what the quickest way to derail your entire presentation is? Catch yourself saying the word “Um” and then try and stop yourself from saying it again. My class got to watch me having an “Um” nervous break down for the first ten minutes until I finally convinced myself to stop paying attention to what I was saying and just teach the class.
It is also always fun for me to hang out with fellow writer, Bill Gardner, (AKA Willard) who grew up with me in the small town of Pullman, Washington. I find it interesting that both of us had this common hobby/talent/obsession of writing and yet we never knew it about each other until we were adults, living in different states, and happened to join the same writers group.
Although I guess it isn’t too surprising that we never connected since he was older and too cool to talk to me. He denies this by the way, and insists he was shy, but really, how many of the cool, popular kids are actually shy? Yeah, I didn’t buy that excuse either.
So there was this one really tense moment when I was about to give a presentation to the entire conference and James, who was introducing me, said, “Since Bill and Janette grew up together, I asked him to give me an embarrassing story about her.”
I swear I saw my entire life flash before my eyes, well at least the embarrassing stuff anyway, which is a considerable chunk.
As it turns out, there is one advantage to the fact that Bill was too cool to talk to me, and that is that he didn’t know any of my many embarrassing moments. Hurrah for being overlooked!
Afterwards I was standing around with a group of people, including Bill and my college-aged daughter. I said, “When James announced he was going to tell an embarrassing story about me all I could think about was the *** incident.”
I am not telling you, my blog reader, what the *** incident was, because it turns out the *** incident was illegal. I did not realize this as a teenager. Really. I wouldn’t have done it, had I known that the police along with several other city personnel would show up in my neighborhood with their lights flashing looking for the perpetrator of the *** incident. Or that it would be in the newspaper, and the teachers at school would all talk about the reckless behavior of certain unknown teenagers. Oh, and did I mention that I was the daughter of a Pastor?
Anyway, I didn’t turn myself in and they never caught me. Even though the statute of limitations is up, I’m still not telling. Maybe some day I will do penance and turn myself into the mayor of Pullman (who may in the near future be a guy who I went to prom with, so I’m hoping he’d give me a pardon) but not yet.
Right now it is my deep, dark secret, except for that as soon as I uttered the words, “When James announced he was going to tell an embarrassing story about me all I could think about was the *** incident.” Bill said, “THAT WAS YOU?!!”
Then he went on for some time about how the *** incident had become legend in the Pullman Police Department—and Bill worked for the Pullman Police Department for awhile so he would know.
See, I was really more interesting as a teenager than Bill gave me credit for.