Monday, April 15, 2013

Recovering from the American Mosaic Summit of 2013

I just returned from another whirlwind trip to the annual American Mosaic Summit.  This year, we met in Tacoma, WA, which is only an hour and a half from me.  This means that I was much more intimately involved with the hosting of the conference than ever - in fact, I've never had to concern myself with the inner workings of the conference at all.

While I did not, like a couple of friends of mine, spend the past two years working very hard to secure the hotel, convention center, exhibit space, meal arrangements, multiple tours, and much more, I was in charge of one of my favorite parts of the conference; the Salon Auction.  It was a bigger job than I expected, but since I was saving so much by not flying to another state, I was happy to be part of the team.  And while it was sometimes very frustrating and stressful, it was also rewarding.  The night of the Salon, we had about 140 beautiful and diverse works of art on display.  Many of the participants sold work and the event was a big success.  There were no disasters!

The end of the Salon was very gratifying, because a huge responsibility was completed and over.  However, I had to get up early the next morning to give a presentation in front of, potentially, 500 conference attendees.  I was terrified, and no less because many in the audience have as much or more experience than I do with my topic.  I was worried that my little story would be boring for this crowd.  Plus, I was following one of my favorite people in the world of mosaic: Laurel True.  (Laurel True's website.)  Laurel has done amazing work in facilitating community mosaics, and I hope to someday spend some time working alongside her.

Although I am very shy and I find it hard to stand up and speak to large groups, I've been doing a lot of it in the past few years.  I've spoken to a rotary club, the Association of University Women, Olympia City Council, and I gave a lecture to a college class all within the past couple of years.  Each time, when I look out at the sea of faces, I feel like I leave my body and hover somewhere behind myself.  My mouth starts moving, I can't see my notes, I'm not sure what I'm saying or whether it makes sense.  But afterward, people approach me and tell me it was great.  So, I guess I'm not so awful at public speaking.

This time, I heard compliments over and over for the rest of the conference.  People said they cried!  They told me I was funny, that the delivery was smooth and concise, and that I didn't seem nervous.  Ha!  Take that, Inner Voice!  Despite all of this great feedback, I know there are things I failed to say and that I left a few parts out that I've been asked about since.  I will post a follow up page with some of that information, so if you were in that audience and you have some questions about my story, look for the next post.  I will try to answer them as well as possible.

So, I'm home and  back to stacking wood and wrangling goats.  Unfortunately, I wore myself out over the past week and I now have a nasty cold, so I'm dragging.  And as much as I already miss all of the amazing friends I get to see each year at the conference, I am so glad to be sitting in a quiet house in the middle of nowhere surrounded by trees and creeks and animals.  Time to re-fuel and get back to making mosaic.

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