Sunday, October 18, 2009

It was either "Stand By Me" or "We Are Family"

Last night I had a dream that I was performing in a talent competition of some sort, only I hadn't rehearsed and didn't know all of the words for the song I would be singing—or even, for sure, which song it was. Let alone the fact that I don't really know how to sing.

I think this is the clearest my subconscious has ever been in translating whatever is stressing me out into a dream. I don't even have to pretend to try to interpret this one.

Next Monday (as in a week from tomorrow) I am presenting at the CASL/CECA conference. And I am, to put it simply, not prepared. I have a folder of photocopies and scratch paper and books full of sticky notes and—finally—five pages of notes that will be turned into a storyboard of my presentation today (I swear, really, it has to happen today. Because I'm supposed to submit a final version of my presentation tomorrow) and a vague sense of what I'll be talking about and I know, somewhere in my brain, that this will come together and it will be fine and my presentation is at 7:30 in the morning so it's distinctly possible I'll be the only one in the room, but here is what I comes down to and what—besides everything else I'm behind on—is keeping me from working on this: I am terrified.

There are a few reasons for this. First, I read too many library blogs, and there is a lot of confidence and certainty and "vision" in the library blogosphere, and I feel none of those things. And I don't know if that means I'm more realistic, or completely inept. Second, I'm presenting on learning differences in the library, which is not an area for which a lot of material and information exists—which I know from trying to do research when I first got this job. So I feel this pressure to be authoritative, but on the other hand a lot of what I'm talking about is based on my own work and experience, and I'm not sure I feel like an authority. I am taking a lot of work about LD and UDL (Universal Design for Learning) and translating it into the library environment, but the simple fact is that I don't think there's really anyone who is an authority on the specific issue of learning differences in the library, so I kind of feel like I'm working without a net. Third, I live and work everyday with LD students; I'm pretty familiar with this issue and believe passionately in the importance and relevance of what I do—I worry, alternately, that the other people in the room won't buy in to what I'm saying, and also that I'll inadvertently talk over the heads of everyone who doesn't do this stuff day to day. What if I accidentally start gushing about the possibilities of downloading DAISY books for the Kurzweil? Most people I work with understand that and get excited about it, but I feel like the rest of the world probably doesn't.

The other thing is that I know that the only place I'll be able to practice this presentation is in my apartment, talking to a wall (or, if they come out from under the bed, my cats), and I know I'm not good at rehearsing without an audience. I'd like to have at least one run-through under my belt, but I'm not sure how to make that happen at this point. Which is another reason I should have gotten my act together on this before now, I know.

So I guess I'm looking at a week of dreams about me performing ineptly in talent shows. Which is one of many reasons you should be glad you're not in my subconscious.

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