I recently did something I never thought I'd be able to do. At least, not without flubbing somehow, or turning a bright, glowing red. My sons' principal had asked if I'd be willing to read some of THUNDER at the school's two "Summer Reading Kick-off" assemblies. I was honored to be asked but ... yikes! Why was the thought of speaking in front of an audience so difficult? I mean, I talk every day, don't I? So, why did the number of people make a difference?
I told her I'd think about it. I was nervous; reading my own words in front of a group of people, kids or not, was stepping outside of my cozy space. But my main fear was ... the microphone. I'd never used one before. My daughter had, and she told me it hadn't been a friendly experience. I could believe that, and I'm partial to friendly experiences. I didn't know if Mr. Mic and I were meant to be friends. He seemed like a tricky sort of fellow.
Finally, I resorted to asking my ten-year-old: "Is this something you want me to do?" He said: "Yes!" My fate was sealed.
I practiced reading, wishing I had the voice of THUNDER's real narrator. (Which is a whole different exciting thing, which I'll share with you soon.) I got a babysitter, grabbed my book, and showed up at the school where, on the fly, I decided to change the selected passage. And guess what??? The microphone wasn't big or scary; it just sat there, kind of near me but not doing much of anything. And the kids? They weren't big or scary either. And they asked the best questions, like: where did I get my ideas, how did I write such a long book, and where could they buy it. One sweet girl commented, "Hey, my mom's name is Jamie!" A boy said how much he loved the cover.
It was a fantastic experience and, later that afternoon, I got to do it all over again for the second assembly! Again, I chose a passage on the fly, and still it worked out. And the microphone? I must have scared it off during my first go-round, because it wasn't working for the second. Instead, the principal got to stand at my side holding a replacement. Did anyone fuss or worry? Nope, the show went on.
And now when I tell my kiddos that they can face their fears and step out of their comfort zone in order to try new things, I'm totally legit. After all, I've had practice with situations like that. And I've totally learned that fun can be found, even if a microphone is involved.