Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Exciting news. I’ll be speaking to several thousand — yes, you read that right — several thousand women (and a few men) at the Southern Women’s Show in Raleigh next month. Even though this is my fourth time (following three prior talks in Raleigh, Charlotte and Savannah); it’s always fresh and exciting to be involved in this fabulous event. And it’s win-win for me. I get to learn about the latest fashion, sample tasty treats and hear other fabulous speakers. Plus, I get to stay with our daughter, Kelly, and her family for the weekend.
Everything was going fine on the itinerary: the date and times had been set, the jpegs had been emailed and I was tweaking my talk. Then I got an email asking for the actual title of my talk for the print media. Uh-oh! The title? I hadn’t gotten that far. Titles are a funny thing. Just ask any writer of any genre. Some of us start out with a title before writing; and others assign the title after we’ve written our piece.
Regardless, editors and publishers are notorious for changing titles to suit their fancy — or, more likely, to suit their audience. There’s one pub I write for that has never used the original title I’ve picked. It’s not Georgetown Times, y’all! They’re about the most easygoing group I’ve ever had the honor to know. Thank you, John Carr and others.
In fact, when I began writing for this wonderful newspaper — South Carolina’s oldest — I couldn’t have dreamed I’d have kept up this gig for sixteen years. Serendipity! Grace! Gratitude-from me!
When I began in 1998, Jesse Tullos asked me for a title of the overall weekly feature, still keeping in mind each column would have its own standalone title. I tried to remember any phrases I said over and over and then it hit me: I was always asking hub-Russ, “What was it I was saying?” His rote reply was, “I don’t know. I wasn’t listening.” Rude! And as luck would have it, I went on to publish my first book with that exact title. It’s now out of print; but who knows? Maybe one day it’ll be resurrected.
But back to my title for the SWS. I got a little exasperated when I read that email. I mean, I was already stressed. I was under deadline with GT and Russell was jumping up and down, screaming and yelling during one of the many NCAA tournament games, barking out orders to the refs and players; so my nerves were on edge.
I had accidentally erased a text message — thanks to Russell being overzealous — and thereby lost a very important phone number. I got locked out of a computer program and couldn’t remember my password. And my thumb was throbbing from an embedded splinter. I went into the kitchen and forgot what for (okay, this happens several times a day); so I gave in and ate a huge chunk of homemade S’more’s, thereby sabotaging my new food plan. Next I felt a hot flash coming on, only to discover Russell had turned off the air-conditioner (it was 76 degrees in here.) Frustrated, I then turned on the paddle fan and he pulled out his Duke blanket. Worst of all, I began working on this column in earnest only to remember I had no idea what I was doing. No, it wasn’t me personally. It was due to my new laptop with Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Word that even Bill Gates himself couldn’t possibly understand. What were they thinking?
After fussing and fuming, throwing a conniption fit and threatening to go to bed early (Russell let out a yip and smiled hugely at this statement), he then said to me in earnest, “It’s hard being you, isn’t it, honey?”
“That’s it!” I screamed, scaring the wits out of him.
“That’s going to be the name of my talk! ‘It’s hard being me — how about you?’” to which he just shook his head. What a great husband!
Ann Ipock “Life is Short, I Wish I Was Taller” firstname.lastname@example.org www.annipock.com