Tuesday, October 29, 2013

And the Award Goes To...

I've known for about a month and a half now, but last week, the president of my college made the official announcement. I am Holmes Community College's Humanities Instructor of the Year. Such an honor entails me having to put on a humanities presentation, topic of my choice (obviously a literary one), and later attending a banquet with other colleges' and universities' winners where we will each receive a cash prize. Stunned did not even cover how I felt when I first found this information out, but now I just feel excited and honored...and nervous, extremely nervous.

I chose the topic of fashion in literature and film and will show how fashion plays an important role in William Faulkner's Sanctuary, Margaret Atwood's The Edible Woman, and the film The Devil Wears Prada. Why these selections? Simple. I love these novels and that movie. In fact, re-reading the books and re-watching the film have really opened my eyes to other new aspects about each, even though I've previewed each of these about a hundred times apiece. I love the feeling I get when I discover a thread from one source to another and can use it to draw a connection to something relevant in our time--almost as good as finding that perfect word to depict that certain moment in a story, essay, or poem. If anything, this project has shown me that I have not lost my love for research.

However, I also face pressure. For this presentation to go well, I have to have an audience. Therefore, I've also learned some new aspects in Public Relations that I had never before given any thought. For one thing, I worked with the school's graphic designer on a poster to promote the event. The result? I love it, but I never would have come up with anything to look as good. Certain area newspapers will also publicize the event. Last week, I got my picture taken, which turned into a full-blown photo shoot, and I hate taking pictures.I learned that my smile does not look natural, but really, how can one look natural with a camera pointed towards her face clicking and flashing bright light every couple of seconds? Honestly, the whole experience left me feeling a little hunted. In the upcoming weeks, I will work with a videographer on splicing my video to specific scenes in the film, and my dean has offered to help me put together a highly visual power point to use. I will also have to learn how to use a wireless mic, some sort of clicker to change slides, and probably some other technological crap that I have no idea what does. Because of all these behind-the-scenes actions going on, I worry that no one will come.

Then again, nothing makes me sicker than standing up and speaking in front of a large audience. Yes, I realize that I stand in front of a captive audience of students  texting zombies and talk their ears off for several hours a week, but somehow, standing on a stage wired to a microphone seems a bit intimidating to me. For one, I don't have the best speaking voice, even in the classroom. I have a shrill voice, not unlike that of a per-pubescent boy. When I really think about my audience, my voice shakes. Frankly, I just don't sound pretty when I speak.

Anyway, scared as I am to give this talk, I guess I kind of look forward to it. I mean, I would rather have the opportunity than not.For about forty-five minutes to an hour, I get to talk about things I love while people listen. How bad could that be? Here's hoping people will enjoy the presentation and forgive my shaky squeaky voice.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oh, My Heart

It does not take much to pull at my heartstrings, especially if it involves Jude. Yesterday, he looked at Jeffrey and said, "Hug Mommy," and Jeffrey said, "Yes, you can hug Mommy. I'm sure you don't even have to ask." Then Jude walked over to me and gave me a big hug. Right there, I turned into one giant pool of sap.Though I often lament the passing of Jude's infancy, little things such as that remind me of how much I love a two year old.

The other day, my mother and I went out to grab supper for everyone while Jeffrey, Jude, and my dad stayed home. We had planned to stay out about half an hour but also wanted to escape to this new home decor shop in Renaissance before venturing back with the food. I very much looked forward to this impromptu detour because rarely have I darkened the door of a home decor store since the birth of my son. However, before I could circumnavigate the store, a call on the cell phone interrupted the material bliss of sorting through rugs, placing picture frames in some semblance of an order, all while daydreaming  about my house as the featured home in next month's Southern Living.On the other end of the line, a frantic Jeffrey snapped me back into reality as he wondered when we would finally arrive home (at least I think that's what he asked; I found it hard to hear him what with the two year old screaming in the background). After dashing out of the store (with nothing in hand), we quickly returned home to both Jude's tear-stained face and Jeffrey's relieved one. Jeffrey then told me that Jude kept asking for me, and when I wouldn't come, he completely lost it. While I should feel guilty, and I did a little bit, I also couldn't help but think "Aww..."

Jude reminds me every day that I do, in fact, have a heart even though cynicism drips from me much like sweat. The thing no one ever told me about motherhood but what I see as the greatest blessing of all is knowing there's a person out there who loves me no matter what and with no strings attached. I wonder if he loves me this way because on some subconscious level, he knows I love him wholeheartedly. I hope he will always know that, even on the days we don't agree.