Pittsburgh, laryngitis, and other things going on

The event in Pittsburgh was great.  I think it says a lot about an organizer, an institution, and a city when someone can put on a four-hour event on a Saturday and have a roomful of enthusiastic folks show up.  With no course credit being offered!

The whole Feminism and Zines Symposium was interesting--I learned a lot from the presentations offered by Sara Marcus and Jenna Freedman.  And I was very pleased with how well my own presentation went!

There have been times in the past when I've given a presentation and, halfway through, have thought, "Hmm...this might be boring."  Not a good thought to have when you're standing in front of a room full of people who have come out to hear your boring self.  This time, I practiced and practiced and practiced.  I had a lot to say, but I was able to use my presentation as a jumping-off point, so I was talking with the audience rather than reading from a script.  I got some interaction going--we read several zines together, identifying points of connection between scrapbooks and zines, for instance.  As I was speaking, I felt myself click into the teacher mode.  There's this zone I can get into in my classes, where I feel like, "Yes, I know where we are.  I know the vibe of the room.  I am saying things, and I can tell that you're listening."  And I was in that zone for most of my presentation at the Carnegie Library.

Pittsburgh was an incredibly interesting city.  I'd love to return and do more of an "exploring Pittsburgh" sort of trip.  For instance, one thing I noticed in my time there is that there are a lot of bridges.  When I got home I discovered that there are 446!  Holy shit!  I also learned that Pittsburgh was Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood--that's where the show was produced.  And I saw some incredibly beautiful, big houses downtown which I was informed I could buy for around $250,000.  In Charleston terms, that's cheap.

In other news, I have laryngitis.  Thank goodness this happened last night and not while I was out of town to give a speech!  I am completely voiceless today--I can just barely whisper.  It's incredibly frustrating, but perhaps the universe is suggesting to me that I work on my listening skills.

Update:  Thanks to Jude for this link to a cool Pittsburgh radio show about our symposium (and Bill O'Driscoll pronounces my name correctly--thanks, Bill!)


starrlife said...

I kinda thought that Pittsburgh was fascinating also. There are actually two major rivers that flow around downtown Pittsburgh thus the bridges. Didn't you find the driving confusing? I also wish that I had had more time to just explore.
That is a very good feeling when things just click for a presentation, very good.
Ugh to laryngitis... me and not talking is not a good thing :)

krlr said...

I stand in awe of anyone that can speak in front of any group - to know the room is listening... well, hats off! I would have suddenly pretended to choke on my cheesesteak. Hope you feel better soon.

Alison said...

I did find the driving very confusing in Pittsburgh, but fortunately I was being driven, so my confusion wasn't a problem. I had a hard time getting a feeling of the shape of the city.

And as for public speaking, let me assure you that being a teacher helps A LOT. I speak in front of groups two or three days a week, so it gets much less intimidating.

Tawanda Bee said...

You inspire me.