Serenity and Chaos

I’ve been looking forward to speaking at the Southern Festival of the Book for some time, not least because I’m being introduced by a fellow bookstore owner named Chuck Beard. I’m scheduled for an hour this Saturday at noon in the library (with the pipe wrench).

Of course, looking forward to something involves having done some planning, and I thought the ducks were aligned for this trip. Yesterday, after teaching speech class and racing back to throw professional clothes in a bag for an overnight conference, I went to my “author drawer”–the place in the bookstore where I keep any and all correspondence pertaining to my current or prospective book–and reached for the Southern Festival envelope.

It wasn’t there.

Check to see if it’s fallen behind. Nope. Check the drawer below. Nope. Check the bill drawer in case it got mixed up. Nope. Make accusatory comments to Jack about moving envelope. Nope. Apologize to Jack. Panic.

Now normally, I can solve simple problems, but this was the week we opened the cafe, my speech students gave their midterms, and the medical organization I work with holds its flagship conference. So instead of choosing door number one–adult behavior involving calling the festival to determine hotel arrangements and reprinting a map to Nashville from the conference hotel–I opted for door two: curl into the bookstore armchair in a fetal position and place a whiny desperate phone call to Serenity, the appropriately-named festival director.

Hearing oneself on the phone saying in a shaky voice to someone you have never met “…and I swear to you I’m a competent adult not a prima donna I just lost the envelope” is kind of a wake up call for how much stress you’re actually juggling. As soon as we get back from this festival I’m enrolling in a yoga class.

Serenity talked me down from the ledge, and Chuck offered us a place to stay when it turned out we didn’t have one. (We have always relied on the kindness of strangers.) Life went on. The sun did not deviate from its normal course. It’s amazing how persepective-a-fying it is to realize, in the middle of a full-blown adult meltdown, that you’re the only one worried. Kinda restores a little sanity, y’know?

Jack and I made it the medical event last night, and are about to hop onto the road to Nashville, the address of our couch-surf B&B in the GPS, coffee-to-go in the cup holder.

Decaf. Best not to take chances, y’know?

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3 Comments

Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, humor, Life reflections, publishing, Uncategorized, writing

3 responses to “Serenity and Chaos

  1. I was scheduled to give a talk at that event a few years ago and in the middle of the night before I was supposed speak, my father had a stroke. He’s fine now, but I wasn’t even able to get in touch with the conference people, only the person I was supposed to give a talk with. So please tell Serenity if you see her that I had to drive him to the ER at top speed and was at the hospital all night and the morning and, not surprisingly, didn’t bring her contact info with me to the ER, so she didn’t get notified. She probably hates me.

  2. Elizabeth Cooperstein

    Have fun!

  3. Jean Stewart

    Wendy – I have just now found your blog of Friday – AFTER having just written you. I am SO SORRY to have missed you on Saturday at the Festival!!111
    Jean Stewart

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