Partly Cloudy, With a Chance of Crazy

P1030914Me+fabulous author Rachel Hauck at 2009 ACFW.

Things are nuts right now. I have a big project at my educational institution of employment, I’m working on my next YA (um, at least in my head I am), I’m still painting my  house, and I’ve been getting ready for the ACFW conference, where I’m teaching two classes. As I told my friend and editor Jamie, REMIND me next year to never do this again. Because I know next year at this time I’ll get the bug to present/teach at the conference, and I should not. Because I stress about it. I mean, I take stress to new heights. No sleep for weeks, my head and house are cluttered beyond recognition, technology problems (compounded by my technology idiocy). Then there’s the talking to myself out loud. (Oh, wait. That’s what we call teaching ninth graders. . .)

I’m teaching a class on YA fiction and the Millennial generation, as well as a class on humor in fiction. And it’s the humor one I’m paranoid about, ESPECIALLY when I got an email last week letting me know how many had signed up for it. Because I had figured on about 3 people. Three people I paid in Starbucks. But the number is now closer to 100. And it makes me a little barfy inside.

I created my presentation for these classes about 8 months ago or so. But then I scrapped most of it and started over because I wasn’t happy with it. And then I added YouTube clips because, as a speech teacher, I know people remember what they see and not what they hear, so stick in some funny YouTubes! Who cares if I suck! I’ll show them a clip from Hitch!

But then I had lots of technical difficulties with my YouTube embedding in my PowerPoint. And then my laptop and I got in a terrible fight (I don’t want to talk about it. But I was right.  . . though maybe I shouldn’t have said some of the hurtful things I did.) And so I ordered a new laptop. And then I had to set that up for the presentation. And then my YouTube clips still wouldn’t work, even after talking to everyone I know (sorry, Grandma) and researching for hours on the information super highway.

Then I had to read a bunch of books to find some funny to show people that it did exist, because let’s face it, we Christians aren’t known for our funny. (Exhibit A: Jack Wagon pastor Terry Jones of Florida)  And then I had to organize all that research. And finally my books, computer, and heart-shaped Post-Its outgrew my office, so we had to move to the dining room, which STILL is only half painted, a fact that eats at my brain by the minute.

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What a mess. And that’s neat and tidy compared to what my head looks like. We have my notes, my 400 drafts of my handouts. My ex-computer. My phone. My camera. (why?) My books with various sticky notes (I have 200 varieties). A water bottle that I drained in 3 seconds.  A picture of my niece in the background showing me what a happy face looks like. A picture of my nephew beside her showing me what a thoughtful face looks like. A tiered basket where fruit should go. My Jonah Bible study from Priscilla Shirer because Jonah would’ve understood my PowerPoint Problems.  A highlighter, something I have a surplus of and rarely use, so I decided I wouldn’t go another night without finding something to yellow up.

We also have a stack of random notes on my brother’s insurance stationery. A few of my own books because the passages were easy to find, but when I read them in class this week I know I’m gonna feel like a self-promoting, egotistical, lets-talk-about-me nut job. My one subject notebook because I don’t do anything without those 15 cent things of awesomeness. Sticky notes on my sticky notes with the latest updates on whatever my brain just gooshed out. A tiny box of Dove soap at the corner of the table because if I forget to pack soap on this trip, more than my presentation will be reeking. And my homepage up with a nice advertisement warning me about the dangers of METH, as if Google knew I was in a weakened state and only two file conversion disasters away from smoking some Drano.

BUT!!! Things have finally come together, there’s a new computer in my life, and I have rebuked my vampire ways and started sleeping again. So if you’re coming to ACFW this week, I can’t wait to see you, meet you, and show you my nifty YouTube clips to totally distract you. Though in all seriousness, prayers would be greatly appreciated. And obviously needed.

In other news, you can win a free copy of So Over My Head, the third book about Bella Kirkwood HERE at Christianbook.com. I found this deal on Twitter, so just another reason for you guys to Twitter up and join me on that addictive social network.

And I had a fun interview over at Novel Teen with the fabulous fantasy author Jill Williamson. You can read that HERE. AND there’s a book giveaway there as well! So two chances to snare So Over My Head.

Thank you for letting me vent. Now it’s your turn. Wednesday we’re gonna talk only of positive and thankful things, but what have you been stressed out about lately? What’s taken over your metaphorical dining room table? (In a dining room that still needs to be painted…)