Over the years, I have acquired a small collection of various name tags from different events I’ve attended. By various, I mean, the names are various. You see, I don’t always let a proper invite keep me from a party and some of the events I’ve attended over the years have had everyone’s name tags printed and laid out ahead of time, not allowing you to walk up to the door and get in if you haven’t made plans in advance. Which means if you are spontaneous like myself, you find yourself picking out a name and going with it. Only once have I ever had anyone actually question the fact that I was not who my nametag said I was, because they knew the real ‘me’ and I was 20 years younger, several inches taller, noticeably thinner and a completely different race than the other version they knew that went with that name. I found that telling the gentleman I was undercover for a very important investigation and that I would appreciate his cooperation, as it may or may not have to do with national security, I was not free to divulge anything further than that, in fact I may have said too much, helped quiet him.
In crashing parties, one must act with complete confidence and authority.
Last Thursday evening was the holiday party for the local weekly that I’ve done some projects for this past year. Despite the fact that I’d been up & down all week with the upper respiratory bug going around town, I felt we should go and make an appearance. Besides, I was feeling better that day, surely I was on the mend. (When they say that bug is a 10 day to 2 week bug, they aren’t joking, btw. I was most definitely not on the mend, but that’s a completely different tale.)
As we walked in, there was a table with a guest list at which you were supposed to check in. There was also a small collection of name tags which were clearly for people who are affiliated with the publication throwing the party. Among the name tags was one for me, with my real name on it. Even better was a title – “Green Expert”, a nod to the fact that I wrote (and partially photographed) their Green Homes and Living special edition this past fall, although in no way do I consider myself an ‘expert’ in being ‘green’. Honestly, of the 18 pieces in that, 8 of them are some of sort of interest or project of ours around the house. All I really did was write about us and just tried to make it not sound as personal as I do in this space.
I’ve had a good bit of encouragement lately from friends and family telling me I should just write a book already. On what I ask and they all say, on just being me. From what I’ve gathered, one should have a certain niche, a focus if they are going to pitch anything that’s going to be published. If this blog is any indication, I’m all over the place – baking one day, canning the next with mentions of knitting fail, dinner fail and girl scout troop craft fail. I’m more of a B+ personality than I am a type A. I’m the underachiever of the overachievers, the overachiever of the slackers, not excelling at any one thing, but rather, doing a few things pretty okay. Sometimes making everything perfect, staying on top of every little detail is just way too much energy that could be better used doing something else, like having a glass of wine with a friend or better yet, curled up with a book. How does one go about putting that into a proposal for anything published?
Not quite eighteen months ago, I was laid off and pretty quickly decided that I was going to just figure out a way to make a living out of being me. Since making that decision, I’ve been much happier with my every day life, although cash flow can be a bitch. I’ve made some things happen, I’ve had some things land in my lap. It seems that in casting a wide net, I’ve caught a number of things that I’m pretty okay at – writing, teaching, cooking at the top of that list.
When I started this post, I had every intention of talking about the party last week, how I danced with the guy dressed like a Christmas tree, because really, when there’s a guy dressed like a Christmas tree, you need to do something with him, right? Instead I had this moment where I realized that there was some link between the fact that I have a collection of fake name tags to the fact that I had a real name tag with a title that I found amusing to the fact that I am still very much trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. That this idea I keep hearing from people as something I should do – write a book – somehow needs to come to life. And somewhere, in that link, is the theme.