Monday, April 19, 2010

Just Desserts

It's one of those weeks where I've got free-floating urgency about things over which I have no control.  Honestly, I'm a walking Depends commercial. 

I'm going to my first writers' conference ever, and I have to, you know, Get Ready.  Ready for what, exactly, I couldn't tell you.  Given the fact that my karma is a paranoid schizophrenic with homicidal tendencies and an affinity for gravity, I suppose I could get ready to drop my lunch tray on Vince Flynn or fall off my red hooker heels while accepting my Pulitzer.  That's going to be so embarrassing.  Stupid karma.

The problem is, I'm going as a learner.  A beginner.  Cards on the table, I'm going as a complete poser.  My current obsession is that they'll have Idiot Detectors at all the doors, and I'll have to sneak in through the kitchen, curled up on the bottom of a dessert cart.

Of course as soon as I think things like that, my self-esteem problem - specifically that I have too much of it - takes over and swings me in the opposite direction, where I obsess about how sucky it's going to be when I can't even make it from my James Bond BMW to my castle without being mobbed by adoring fans, photographers, and people who just came by to throw bags of money and writing contracts at me.

Sheesh, can't a living legend have a moment's peace?

I have so many questions!  Should I bring my laptop?  How about business cards? Maybe a teacup poodle in a giant shoulder bag?  Should I finish my manuscript?  And will I need more than thirty copies of it for distribution purposes?  I really don't want to disappoint all the publishers and editors who no doubt will be accosting me in the elevator, begging me for the chance to read my novel.  Oh, how I wish those people had some restraint, some decorum, some respect for boundaries.

The situation isn't improved by the fact that I'm on speed, thanks to my drug-dealing, pill-pushing doctor.  Between that and the 320 ounces of Diet Coke I've mainlined since breakfast, the free-floating urgency is generating a field of quantum randomness that actually has me thinking as fast as I talk.  Those who know me will testify:  That's a Delta Level security threat.  The way my head is spinning right now, you may want to grab a raincoat and take one Grandma Step backward.

So, in the name of moving some of the more useless thoughts out of my skull so as to make room for my sincere expression of modest gratitude when Maya Angelou tells the audience that she wishes she had written "The Accidental Gringo" but will happily allow me the honor it so richly deserves, I offer you the highly anticipated sequel to my "Don't You Hate It When..." post of, um, several months ago.

(ahem)

Don't you hate it when...

1:  ... your dog sits under the piano bench and farts throughout the entire lesson, only your student can't see the dog?

2:   ... your daughter believes the highest compliment she can pay you is that "you scare the crap out of people"?

3:  ... you don't read your horoscope until just before bedtime, and discover you did your whole day wrong?

4:  ... you see your five-foot, six-inch reflection alongside that of a six-foot, three-inch teenage wrestler in the doors of the mall, and it's obvious to both of you that your thighs are bigger than his?

5:  ... you actually have to ask the neighbor kid if she's selling Girl Scout cookies, completely destroying any pretense that you only buy them to avoid hurting her feelings?

6:  ... you march to the front door, revving up to full throttle and prepping to tell the political stumper on the porch that those giant "No Soliciting" signs on the corner weren't installed as back scratchers, hoping, nay, praying that you can somehow work his IQ and that traffic cone he calls a nose into the dialogue...

7:  ... and he turns out to be a guy you used to know from church, causing you to strip all your gears as you reverse from "annihilate" to "inquire after the well-being of his wife and children"...

8:  ... and yet you can tell from the look of abject terror on his face that his life and premature death had already passed before his eyes as he saw you bearing down on him like Hell's meat tenderizer ...

9:  ... leading you to suspect that perhaps your daughter has a point?

10:  ... you sign up to attend a writers' conference even though you know perfectly well that on your best day you couldn't string together an interesting sentence even if three of the words were Elvis, alien, and placenta...

11:  ... and you've told everyone you're coming and you're making arrangements to meet all these awesome writers and your sister is going to be your date at the wrap-up dinner so there's no backing out now...

12:  ...  and no matter how hard you try otherwise, all you can think about is how lame it's going to be when one of the pros waves you down and orders a pecan brownie from that dessert cart they saw you roll in on?

Yeah.  I hate that too.

39 comments:

Christine Macdonald said...

I can't wait to hear all about the conference! I have the same questions! Great post. You always make me smile. :)

The Damsel In DisDress said...

I'll be there...if'n you see the Damsel running amuck, will you kick her back in line?

Molly Doe said...

You will be fantabulous. and if it makes you feel better, you don't scare the crap out of me! If it doesn't make you feel better, well, grab a pecan brownie off the cart. (mmm...pecan brownie.)

Rebecca said...

Ok, I will quit lurking and leave a comment. Don't you get tired of everyone telling you how funny/great/talented you are? Just curious...But you are all that and a bag of chips, so go meet your adoring public and have some fun. Wish I could be there!

Beka said...

Idiot detectors? Now there's an idea! If this writing thing-y doesn't go as planned (although, it sounds like you've thought of EVERYTHING!), I'll take 3 please.

Kazzy said...

I hope you don't forget the little people as you soar to the top.

Last night I dreamt that I showed up at Borders to meet you guys and had forgotten to spruce myself up. No earrings or make up or anything I need to be presentable. It was horrible. I may be a bit nervous for the whole thing...

Rebecca said...

If it makes you feel any better, I would bribe someone so I could sit at your table at the conference. I bet you'll have everyone shooting water out their nose before the salads come out. You're that funny!

I'm a noob myself. But I am so looking forward to meeting everyone! I had to go shopping for the event, and now instead of a round slob I'm a decently dressed round blob. I'll be the one with the hot husband and baby in tow (two separate people). I'll probably also be wearing baby barf shortly after I walk in.

Hmm...wonder if I should break out the Ped Egg.

Lara said...

I'm going with the overcome by adoring fans at the door scenario.

Have fun!

Connie said...

A pecan brownie does sound good about now!
Good luck and thanks for the chuckle this morning.
You should be published!

The Crash Test Dummy said...

You are such a silly goose. HONEST to PETE! You are going to make it big time. I have no idea how this conference will go, but who cares! You're the next Erma Bombeck on Diet Coke. You're the next straight David Sedaris with attitude. Will you get that through your head already! Someday I'll be buying tickets to your concerts. Maybe you could read and sing AND play the piano, as you read and sing your brilliance.

Can't wait to see you!!!!

Momza said...

Whatever you do, you'll do great!
Be gentle with yourself.
Smile and wave, Sister.
Smile and wave.

Jessica said...

Red hooker heels? Oh, I am green (or red) with envy! Good luck, don't trip.

Kristina P. said...

I really hope we get to see each other and hook up. Not in a sexual way. Well, maybe.

Anyway, I will be down in the UC on Saturday. Love your guts!

Becca said...

*The venue has no elevators that you need to use. Just saying.
*Also, you have a great percentage of commenters named Rebecca. We all have good taste, no?
*Women of Strong Thighs, UNITE.
This is all.
XO

M-Cat said...

Please go with the teacup poodle in the handbag. I TRIPLE DOG dare you!

You'll be awesome! How can you not be?

Cheeseboy said...

You have me SO self conscious about my hooker heels now!

Your blog is one of the few that I read every word of every post. Don't want to miss anything.

Have a great time. I wish I were going.

Wendy Ramer said...

I found you very indirectly (through a reference to your blog by one of my followers),and I'm so glad I did. You crack me up...without scaring the crap outta me.

Stacy said...

"Everyone knows Elvis was an alien," DeNae commented as she pulled what looked like a fourteen year old placenta out of the deep freezer, "And how does roast sound for dinner tonight?"

See, that was easy! What else you got?

(I'm going to be at Borders on Thursday night- squeee!)

DeNae said...

Stacy, you are BRILLIANT! We're gonna do that for my next game. When I get back from the conference. Unless I'm too famous by then.

Everyone, can I just say, your encouragement really means a lot to me? I wasn't fishing for all these compliments; I was trying to purge a little anxiety! But your kindness has helped even more!

That is all. Please, continue commenting...

Sher said...

When are you going to start taking credit for how incredibly amazing you are as a writer?!

Don't sell yourself short, I'm sure there will be editors and publishers banging your door down any second!

Love you!

annie valentine said...

I'm not going to the conference even though I have a completed, edited manuscript sitting on my desktop. Why? Because I'm too lazy to do anything with all that helpful information other than go take a gestational nap. Too. Much. Pressure.

Marian said...

Thanks for the laugh. . . again! It's nice to read a blog that has no pretense of trying to help me become a better mom or photographer or whatever. I am what I am. In fact, quite often I read your blog and feel much more normal. A good laugh is better than 10 different ways to put your baby to bed. Or 15 recipes that use zucchini.

Wendy said...

I am so there, DeNae! Thanks--I feel better already. You put the words to the nervousness I feel. You'll be great and we'll all have FUN!

Melanie J said...

And I thought I helped . . .

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

How come you have red hooker heels and I don't? So not fair. I feel cheated.
But I know what you mean about being swarmed by adoring fans. It happens to me ALL. THE. TIME!

And you will be awesome.

The Woolsey's said...

Can I just tell you that everytime I need to smile I pull up your blog. I love the way you write. Your great!

Kimberly said...

Yeah...if there were idiot detectors I so wouldn't have gotten in last year.

If you need a brain to pick in the next few days just email, m'kay?

And now I must excuse myself because my face muscles need some serious massage after grinning so dang much at the thought of meeting you in a few days.

DeNae said...

Melanie, you DID help!! Notice how I have NOT flung myself under a cement mixer? You totally get credit for that!

tammy said...

I'm with Melissa, dog in the handbag please!

Your list is cracking me up.

Charlotte said...

Good luck at your conference. As someone who was accused once of being the scariest sibling that everyone was slightly frightened of, I say embrace the scary. (People don't need crap in them, anyway.)

Theresa Rodriguez said...

I would buy your book. And tackle you in church to make you sign it.

Just SO said...

For the record I think you will rock this writers conference.

aprilhoyt said...

If your book is anything like your blogs, you'll be just fine! I love reading your blog, you put such a fun twist on the realities of life!

That Girl said...

#10? Totally have issues with it.

And wait? Doth mine eyes deceive me? You're NERVOUS about a CONFERENCE?

Oooooh, I feel so much better.

Garden of Egan said...

The dog under the piano bench? Really?
I hope you are able to really knock Maya Angelou's sock off with your totally ninja style writing.
(be sure to give her some of your meds prior to her reading your placental picture book)

Have a blast and take the business cards.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Hope you're having a great time. I'm sure everyone you meet is. :)

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Braden said...

Oh DeNae, as I sit here on Saturday night--since I'm not at the conference, I am reduced to living vicariously by posting comments on other people's pre-conference jitters--I do so in the absolute confidence that on the tiny chance you didn't get at least some nibbles from editors/agents, then you were a hit and lots of people are going home thinking, "DeNae is so funny...."

True story: I've already read a blog post and received an email about someone who was excited to meet YOU!

If I muster up the guts next year, can I borrow the dessert cart?

Lisa Loo said...

I am a little late to the party but I'm sure you were/are/will be a rock star.

"Free floating urgency" that should get you a gig writing for the Depends people if nothing else.

I know I need to be wearing one when I read your blog. The whole, dog farting beneath the piano bench had me crying with a definite free flowing urgency.

Hope you had a great time!