Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Mom's Club Meeting

I don't usually take Dylan to the Mom's Club monthly meetings, because well, duh, what am I going to do with a fidgety 15 month old during a meeting? Today, however, I had to make an exception. They were having a speaker - a "published children's book author from Pittsburgh", (whose name I will not reveal - don't worry, you've never heard of him anyway). Since my dream in life is to become a published children's book author, or just a published author in general, I had to be there to hear what this guy was going to say. Maybe I could chat with him, win him over, get him to send copies of my ideas to his agent, work with his publisher, meet all his other author friends, etc. Now I am laughing, as I write this, at the way my warped, overly optimistic, dreamer mind works. Holy Crappity, Ding Dong, was I offbase on that one.

Before I could listen to the guy's talk, I had to face my overly protective mommy fears, and leave my kid with the complete stranger in charge of the children while the meeting was held. Up to this point, Dylan has only been left with grandparents, our friend and very trusted babysitter, Rachel, and once with our friend Holly. All people he knew. Now, I have told you that he is social, but he is also a bit cautious at first when he is around new people. He is also a bit clingy lately.

It didn't matter. Within five seconds of entering, my daycare-teacher-days brain was shouting, "OUT OF RATIO! OUT.OF.RATIO!" It was also going into overdrive with all the "Not-safe! Not safe! Not safe!" alarms that were going off. There was one frazzled looking woman, in a room with TEN children, most of them toddlers. When I entered the room, she did not greet me, or Dylan. In fact, the whole 10 minutes I stayed in the room observing the madness, she did not speak to me once. Other mothers dropped off their children, and she didn't even ask the child's name, or age. A mother asked about a sign in sheet, and the frazzled lady looked around for one, found it, let her sign in, and never once glanced at the book.

Frazzled lady started handing out cookies, probably in the hopes of keeping 10 little mouths quiet. One child bumped his head on a table, and started bawling, so she handed him a cookie. An older child went over to console him. Then frazzled lady went over to a child who had abandoned a puzzle, saying, "I THOUGHT you wanted to do this puzzle?!" The boy asked if she could help him with it. That was when she made The Mistake. The Mistake that anyone who has ever worked with children of any age should learn before they even step foot in a classroom. She sat down with her back to the room, and consequently, the children. You NEVER, NEVER, turn your back on them. Your back should always be facing a wall. I don't care if you have to stand against the wall, sit against the wall, slide your butt along the length of the wall. Your back faces the wall, folks. Learn it. Live it. Love it. I looked over at Dylan, who was standing in a corner, staring wide eyed at the madness. I realized there was no way that she could see him, or at least half of the other kids in the room from where she was, scooped up Dylan and our stuff, and left. Don't worry. She didn't even notice.

I told Dylan, "Well, that went well, huh?", plopped our butts down in a chair(close to the door) in the meeting room, and got my arsenal of tricks ready, (puffs, cheerios, fruit snacks, crackers, and milk in a sippy cup). Amazingly enough, that kept him amused long enough for me to hear the speaker.

One of the first things the guy said was that "getting a book published is about as likely as getting hit by lightning". Wow, that's encouraging. I think he missed his calling as an inspirational speaker. Excuse me while I go stand in the rain...with an umbrella...in an open field. Then, I found out that he is a "self-published author" of three children's books. There went the agent, publisher, and other author contacts he was supposed to be giving me. He kept spattering off facts like, "I've sent out about 2500 emails, and I've only been on 5 radio shows", etc. until I was in a depressed funk, curled up in a fetal position on the floor with Dylan bouncing on my ribs. So, it's hard. I get it.

Are any of you people friends/family/owed money by an agent or publisher? Are any of you agents or publishers? No? Okay, I'll just be over here on the floor then.

16 comments:

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

As long as you have your back to the wall, it's cool that you're on the floor.

Sorry the meeting was a bust. Some day it WILL happen.

Joanna said...

Is self publishing bad? I take it it's expensive? Well that just sucks wet socks! Sorry it didn't go well.

Pam said...

Sorry it didn't go as well as you had hoped.

Kellan said...

Well ... I hate when that happens. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the speaker, but I enjoyed this post!! Hope you have a good evening - Kellan

Sparx said...

Holy crappy creche! And... apparently, getting published is all about getting out there, badgering agencies over and over again and sending stuff in to magazines and journals until they cave in from the pressure... who has the time?!! Great post though, settling in for a catch-up now!

Shellie said...

How depressing. But, don't give up! As for the daycare, duh! Never, ever turn your back on a room full of kids! That lady would so be toast at my house.

notthemama said...

Ugh, self-publishing is such a crock. It's ONLY good for things that you wouldn't want sold in a bookstore (because generally, bookstores won't stock self-published books). So if you want to "publish" a cookbook for your charity group, or you want to "publish" a book on your family history to distribute at your next family reunion, that's the way to go. If you want people to BUY your book...run the other way.

I dream of having a book published someday too. There are lots of ways to make contacts online. Don't give up!

Oh, and how horrifying was that "child care" situation? Yikes.

Julia said...

Even your post about not being published cracked me up, meaning: you will TOTALLY get there. I know you will.

Janet said...

Oh dear. What an awful woman. I hope the other children whose mothers are obviously idiots survived the ordeal. And, seriously, this guy was the best they could do for a speaker? Sheesh.
Contact this Aussie mom. She's having a children's book published. She knows people.
http://www.miscmum.com/2007/07/professional-me/

Jen said...

Have I told all of you lately that I totally LOVE you? Because I totally do. I heart you. I'm writing all of your names on the cover of my notebook as we speak, and rewriting my will.

Seriously, the fact that busy people like yourselves, take the time to not only read my rants , but to offer such encouragement means a lot to me.

Kellan said...

Hi Jen - thanks for the prayers for our baby - we hare hoping for the best, obviously, and we appreciate all the prayers! See you soon. Kellan

Jonny's Mommy said...

Wow. Why was that lady even in there? Did they have something on her and told her if she didn't stay with the kids they'd tell everyone? Awful...reminds me of the time I took Jonathan to the nursery at my parents' church and there were three teens there who announced when I entered the room "We don't do poopy diapers." Oh. Well, great. Turns out I had to stay there with Jonathan for awhile and -- you guessed it -- a poopy diaper occurred. Guess who changed it. Right again!
As for the author -- I've had similar experiences, which is why I am in newspapers -- writing stuff people put on the bottom of their bird cages. Stuff peoples' animals crap on in other words.

Kellan said...

Hey Jen - I hope you are having a good weekend. Thanks for coming by today and for your prayers for my little nephew. He's hanging in there and seems to be doing okay for now. Take care and I'll see you soon. Kellan

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Could you email me so that I can send you the photos? I'm too lazy to go upstairs and get your email address and I apparently don't have it on this computer. Yes, you can laugh at me for being a lazy slob. It's all good.

Cecily R said...

I don't do those care facilities either. I am a wimp and they make me nervous. I would have left too.

And the inspirational speaker, well, he sounds like a gem. I know I would have gone into it with the same ideas and dreams of getting realized and helped by a fellow author...I feel for you and the outcome. Sorry it wasn't all you hoped.

pam said...

Jeesh!!! Who hired that guy to speak??? Someone who was trying to winnow out all the good authors and hoping you'll quit me thinks... Keep tryin...