|Barnes and Noble|
I'm shy. Sometimes I get nervous just interacting with the cashier at Walmart. Other times I can be outgoing and chatty, though those times are few and far between. What I really suck at is small talk.
Nine times out of ten, when someone introduces themselves to me, I don't catch their name because I'm trying to plan what I'll say next -- something that won't make me sound stupid.
"Hi, I'm Bob."
"What did I say my name was?"
"I have no idea."
I was able to go through with the Barnes and Noble appearance for two reasons: it was something I had always dreamed of doing, and because my wife stood firmly beside me. I knew no matter how things went, she would tell me I did a great job. Everyone needs someone to lean on, and she has always been there for me. I don't always do a good job of letting her know how much I appreciate it. She wanted to video me speaking but I made her promise not to, though our son videoed it on his iPod (I haven't watched it). My wife tells me I did fine, and without video evidence to the contrary, I believe her. Regardless, it was a great learning experience.
Three days from now I have another speaking engagement at my local library. I don't yet know what I'll say, or how nervous I'll be. Less nervous than at Barnes and Noble, I think, because I have one under my belt now. I've also been invited to speak to a group of seventh graders at an area middle school, and I have a solo book signing at Barnes and Noble in December.
It's hard for me to imagine anyone wanting to sit and listen to me talk about myself, or my books, but I'm very thankful to those who do.