Short answer, I'd probably love to.
First of all, let me do the sad but necessary disclaimer that while we're still dealing with Covid, I am more comfortable online or in small, open-space venues with good vaccine and/or masking culture. Expect some pointed questions about the venue if you want an in-person appearance.
But I do enjoy these things. They are usually a hoot, and as much as I love blogging, mixing things up once in a blue moon is awfully fun. They make for a fun post here about what I'm up to other than "Write, write, and a bit of writing after I write." And I have to tell you…if you've never had a room full of people really interested in what YOU have to say about something, it can be pretty rad.
I also have a decade and change of experience in front of a classroom, so I've no trouble with public speaking or teaching or even keeping my presentations interesting. And I have experience modifying my messages in complexity and irreverence with everyone from MFA cohorts to middle schoolers.
Here are just a few disclaimers and guidelines (some assuming a post-covid world) so we don't waste each other's time.
- I will not, under any circumstances, speak on things that would be classified as "out of my lane." If you want to know about linguistics, get a linguist. (My interest is hobby-level at best.) If you want to know about traditional publishing, you should find a published (traditionally published) author. If you want to talk about anti-racism in writing, you should be talking to a BIPOC. If you want to talk about portraying trans issues well, you should put trans folks on your panels/podcasts/etc. I can touch on subjects dear to my heart, and I can talk about my journey and how I think other people from privileged backgrounds might proceed, but I'm not the person to talk to about what is a problem or how to address it. When it comes to that shit, I listen.
- Now, if you want to talk about how to build up an audience, or how to run a Facebook page, or how to keep writing when politics on social media is a distraction, or the craft of fiction and how it relates to video games, or even a postcolonial/psychoanalytical analysis of Supernatural, I'm certainly up for those conversations.
- I don't necessarily require pay, but I can travel about an hour by car before I need something to take care of travel expenses. Further, of course, might mean accommodations as well including room and board. And naturally, I don't want to come to a convention or event and have to buy a ticket to actually stick around and enjoy the thing. If an honorarium would cover all those things, I don't require extra, but I am on a shoestring budget. Of course, I'm always thrilled if it happens to be more-than-a-break-even situation….
- I will want to make some sort of A/V recording of the event into a post if that is possible. I will post it here (along with all pertinent links that might get you some traffic).
- My schedule is pretty busy. Not that I can't move stuff around, but last-minute events or something that could get moved at the last minute aren't likely to work. And if it does get moved, I might not be able to come along.
- If you're going to feed me, let me know what. I am not a picky eater, but I might want to bring a granola bar or a soda. (I once did a panel, and all they had was LaCroix or wine. They didn't even have water. I don't really drink, so it was LaCroix. I know people like LaCroix but to me it is a bit like a contraband soda from a parallel dimension where flavor has been outlawed. I wanted a Dr. Pepper so bad.)
- If this is your first one of these, let me know. I've had to figure things out before with a group that didn't know that I was going to need a host/greeter/ambassador type assigned to me from the minute I hit the parking lot. I didn't know where to go or what to do until the coordinator themselves, tears in their eyes with minutes to go, thought to text me through my Facebook page, and found out that I was just chilling on the nearby mezzanine with a sandwich waiting to hear from…anyone about where to go next. Great bunch, but if I'd known, I could have just told them what I was going to need from them.
- Give me some idea how to dress. If you've never done one of these, it's more important than you think. Otherwise my casual-ass self will be in a "Social Justice Bard" t-shirt and rainbow-seamed track pants while everyone around me is in cocktail attire. Also I don't have a jacket or a blazer.
- I can reliably be "on" for about five…MAAAAAYBE six hours. That's whatever combination of social time, presentations, speaking, mingling, before, after, whatever. If I'm not back at my car or the hotel room (or whatever) or at least tucked away in a quiet space and having a deep conversation with just one or two people, I'm going to get really moody, really fast. (I don't get cranky. I just get really really quiet because I'm out of batteries.) If you want more out of me, I'll need a long rest.
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