Shame On Me

Posted on 17 May 2012

Here’s a photo from my presentation last Wednesday at Lakewood Library. If you’re wondering what the heck is on the screen, well, let’s just say I tried to do a different kind of author appearance. I dug through my old photo albums, made good use of a scanner, gave the audience a glimpse of my early writing (and non-writing) life, and described how my formative writing experiences traumatized shaped me into the writer I am today. (I should clarify that the photo of the Amish man you can see in that slide is one of the few not from my personal family photo albums. Sadly, even though I’m from Lancaster, PA, I did not learn how to write in-between barn raisings.)

I covered everything from silly childhood writing attempts to my misguided teenage years of thinking writing awards were more meaningful than perhaps they really were. And, of course, rejection — I covered plenty of that, too.

This was my first time trying this type of presentation, and despite the fact that I was essentially making a fool out of myself on purpose, I just might tweak this thing and use it again for the future. Of course, I still have no idea whether getting all “creative” in this way was a good idea or not. It’s so hard to say, and even harder to say why in the heck I am so willing to humiliate myself like this. All I know is that I have no shame. That plus my new idea of how to tailor this presentation even more to other writers means, well, maybe one day I’ll take this show on the road.

I didn’t use any notes and instead let the photos guide me through the presentation. So, without further adieu, here’s a small sampling of some of the photos I used. I won’t include any captions, so use your imagination:

I think that’s more than enough for today. Have a good weekend, everyone.



12 responses to Shame On Me

  • Having no shame comes in handy when pursing writing as a career.

    I was surprised to find a fellow Clevelander. Well, I’m a former Ohioan. But my family is still there, so I’m required to forfeit my vacation time and visit three or four times a year. So I think part-time Clevelander is somewhat accurate.

    Last but not least, love the cat sketch.

    • I wasn’t aware that you are from Cleveland. Maybe we’ll bump into each other sometime around town. I’m sure we’ll recognize each other by the way we’re both pulling photos of our cats out of our wallets and showing them off the strangers.

  • Teri says:

    Okay, that diary entry of September 30, where nothing of note occurred, so here’s a picture of my cat. Are you sure you didn’t write that this past September 30??

    LOL I’m dying to use an emoticon.

    • Haha! And sadly, I probably can’t draw a cat any better than I did back then. (I think my “oops” referred to that weird hump in the cat’s back, but really, it applies to whole picture, doesn’t it?)

  • Josephine says:

    please tell me you played the rock theme song at the end,

    “…keep on flying…” (it still gives me goosebumps.) (have i ever written about my intense emotional attachment to the movie rocky? sure i have. there’s dreams and dead dads–all the gooey stuff writers keep in their mental backpacks.)

    Things I love most here:
    Photo 1. that ultra-grand car in the background
    Photo 2. sketch of the cat (very m. kalmam/v. swift). the pale yellow fabric and gold clasp of the journal reminds me of being nine.
    Photo 3. your Laura M. Walter handwriting. (I can see you concentrating as you printed it.)
    Photo 4. The LL Bean bag is the perfect prop. I also love the call-out to david bowie mentioning him being as good as ever in 1997…what did he release in ’97? Whatever it was, I’m guessing it doesn’t hold a candle to Modern Love–which came out when I was in high school.
    Photo 6. Whispering Minds? Are you kidding me? I’m pretty sure my grandmother had that book on her nightstand when I would spend the night and have to fall asleep to her alarm clock playing muzak (mostly instrumental versions of beatle’s songs.)
    Photo 10: “keep on flying…”

    • Photo 1 was taken when my baton troupe (called Strut-n-Stuff, thank you very much) was in a parade. I assume that was one of the parade vehicles. As you can see, I was absolutely horrified to be forced to walk two whole miles.

      Photo 6 — Whispering Minds was the name of my high school lit mag. We also had the underground version, Screaming Minds, for all the writing and art that school administrators would never allow us to officially distribute. All I can remember from Screaming Minds is the poem that used tacos as a metaphor.

      And no, I didn’t play the Rocky theme song, but THANK YOU for the idea. Oh man, after a few more runs to work out the kinks, this presentation is going to rock.

  • Downith says:

    Beats a Facebook timeline any day!

    Is that a wedding photo?

  • I love this idea for a presentation. It makes perfect sense and allows struggling writers to see where greatness (yes, I mean you!!!) comes from. You should write a book on all your presentation experiences. It would be a different kind of writer’s handbook.

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