#5–Beware over confidence . . .

After five presentations in Florence about the book Crossings, it was going so well that I felt quite confident. I still fine-tuned to fit the group I was speaking to and timed myself to make sure I would fit the time allowed. But I no longer feared flubbing up or equipment not working or no one showing up.

Then came the next three . . .

In Gold Beach at Gold Beach Books, most of my friends there showed up and the publicity was so terrific that people just kept coming and more and more chairs kept being added. I was thrilled (and so was owner Ted Watkins).

I wasn’t worried about the equipment; it had been working fine. But when I tried to show the volunteer clicker (VC) how easy it was to just click for the next photo, nothing happened. The first photo––the cover photo––just sat there. I explained to the group that I did not need the PowerPoint to do the presentation, so I began without it. “Whatever!” they said. Terrific audience. I began, but the VC wasn’t ready to give up. He rebooted the computer, got it working, and caught up to me by the third photo. I could’ve kissed him.

Since my laptop seemed to be the problem, I borrowed Dick Smith’s Mac for the next Friday and Saturday when I had back-to-back presentations. I had not used it before, so I practiced clicking through the photos. No problemo! I didn’t try hooking it up to the projector, however, since Dick had used them together before.

Fast forward to Friday at Ocean Dunes Golf Links clubhouse where City Club meets. I had a half hour to set up and quickly realized that I needed a special connector to hook up the cable between the projector and this Mac laptop, and I didn’t have it. So here I was with a laptop and a projector that could not work together! Just as I was beginning to feel really stupid, a fellow working there involved with meal preparation was the most knowledgeable person there about computers etc. Within two minutes “the genius,” as I’ll refer to him, worked out a solution and went to his nearby home to get his laptop and a flash drive. (An above-and-beyond type of genius!)

Upon his return, he realized, much to his chagrin, that he had never registered or installed his PowerPoint application. While he did that, a helpful gentleman (HG) found the needed file in the hidden recesses of the Mac and put it on the flash drive. By then the other laptop was set up and HG plugged in the flash drive. Voila! My book cover appeared on the screen and I could click from photo to photo right there at the podium. I could’ve kissed them both. It was exactly 11:30, and folks were coming in to eat. Lunch was served a few minutes late, but I started on time. It was the most polished presentation so far, and I received many positive comments on how well put together it was . . . (Thanks to two special guys.)

I figured that my computer probably acted up in Gold Beach because the cable wasn’t properly screwed in, so decided to chance it the next day. And I invited a friend.

At every presentation so far, someone has been there to welcome me, show me where the presentation is to be held, and offer to help set up. Not so in Waldport where I’d been invited to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the new Alsea Bay Bridge along with their Centennial and Beachcomber Days celebrations.

When we arrived at the Community/Senior Center, we weren’t sure we were in the right place. Nobody knew anything about us. A pancake breakfast had just concluded and the sticky floor needed mopping, so we were told to come back later. We stashed our stuff in a closet and headed back to the car. We ate our home-brought lunches and watched Waldport’s parade from the car because it was raining––raining on their parade.

When we returned to the Center, nobody was there, but I was sure it was the right place––correct address. We spotted a screen and started moving tables and setting up chairs in front of it. Without my friend’s help, I wouldn’t have been ready in time. I very carefully attached the connector cables between laptop and projector, and the equipment worked flawlessly. Whew! Meanwhile, other folks were setting up right outside for band music; they even came in and took the microphone equipment and most of the chairs. Hmm! And with two minutes to go before our scheduled time, nobody had showed up.

Then just at the appointed time, a couple stumbled in out of the rain and a lady actually came to hear the “bridge talk,” (I could’ve kissed her), and my friend went out and rounded up a couple more. So I began with an audience of five. During the presentation, a few others came in—maybe nine total. Midway through, the band right outside the window got cranked up and started playing Sousa marches. With no mic, I had to shout to be heard over them. Since the podium had wheels, I kept rolling closer to the group. Afterwards, I did sell one book.

In these presentations, I’ve learned to assume nothing and to prepare for anything. Just when you think you’ve got your act together, circumstances conspire to show you otherwise.


Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for only $24.95 plus $3.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Press, www.connectflorence.com    or   pacpub@oregonfast.net


Crossings Presentation by Judy in July (never can tell what might happen):

• July 16, 2 p.m.––Coos County Historical & Maritime Museum, July Jubilee and celebration of the 75th birthday of the McCullough Memorial Bridge, North Bend

Judy will also be attending two Author’s Fairs:

• July 22–23, noon–6 p.m. Friday & 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday––Oregon Books & Games (corner 7th & E), Grants Pass

• August 27, noon–3 p.m.––Bob’s Beach Books (west side just north of 17th on Hwy 101), Lincoln City

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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