Friday, November 9, 2012

Performing For the TBLC

On Friday, November 2, 2012, I was the lunchtime entertainment for the Tampa Bay Library Consortium’s Annual Meeting.  I had never performed for a lunch before and the thought of competing with tossed salad and grilled chicken made me slightly uneasy, not to mention extremely hungry since I normally don’t eat before performances due to the fear of vomiting on my audiences out of sheer nervousness.  Plus you never really know if a person is red in the face due to the hilarity of your story time joke or because they are actually choking on a sliver of bone and need help.

I was also performing for most of libraries I had applied to work for at one time or another so the performance also felt like sort of an audition/job interview, which really makes things tough either way because when you are looking to get hired, you can’t really make fun of anybody and secretly that’s what people really want from comics – to say the things that everybody else is thinking & humiliate the jerks in the room.  For example, before I went on, a librarian came over and said that she wished I knew more of the personalities in the audience because if I could ‘roast them,’ that would have made her day.  I didn’t want to admit that I had my own list of people to roast – all across America - but due to having something called integrity and respect for myself, I wasn’t going to share any of my precious stage time talking about those sad individuals.  Besides, I am writing a book and wouldn’t it be better to save those juicy details for “The Today Show” interview with Matt Lauer?

Anyway, I also had the date of November 2nd hanging over my head reminding me that it was exactly a year ago that my life would take a giant U-turn thanks to an article in the LA Times.  People who say there is no such thing as bad press aren’t trying to get a job in the very competitive and highly conservative library field.  Think you have an incredible resume?  Excellent references?  Make a great impression on job interviews?  None of that matters when there is a full-page story about you in one of the top papers in the country to create doubt in your abilities and intentions…to the entire industry!

At the end of the hour-long performance, I couldn’t help but to shed a tear.  I was so happy to be still standing at the microphone regardless of the obstacles put in my way.  To look out at an audience full of the librarians I long admired, most smiling and clapping, gave me hope that my unusual path, while always in development and exploration, unpaved and rugged, was always full of inspiration and adventure! 

It has been an incredible year of self-discovery and creativity for me in so many ways.  Launching Stand-Up Librarian Designs and sewing literary purses, constructing fun literary costumes with matching hats and headbands has absolutely been one of the highlights of this year.  A hobby I once gave up on, I decided to try once again and as a result, has found an audience of patrons who purchase them.  It still makes me laugh that I actually make my own outfits and have a merchandise stand full of things I created!  Now that is cool.

I cannot thank the TBLC enough for showing their support to me on such a day that sparked so many memories and allowed me to triumph!

Standing with my book cart before the show.

Performing literary jokes for the TBLC.

With Jessica Riggins of the TBLC.

ALWAYS Ask a Librarian!

Working at my merchandise stand.