Yesterday, I did my presentation at the Hazelden Treatment Centers' Women Healing conference in Minneapolis. I was nervous. Although I read a few academic papers at university conferences years ago, there was always a small turnout (less than 30) and mostly friends and acquaintances of the four or five people on the panel. I'd been nervous then too, as the readings were competitive and academics can be terrible snobs.
This was a different kind of conference. Hazelden puts on 4 a year in different cities. The first day is for professionals who work in the recovery field and the second day is for women in recovery. There were 5 speakers yesterday, several of them very famous in the field. I was third in the line-up right after lunch.
Three hundred women. Two hundred and ninety-five strangers (I'd met 5 of them the night before). And somehow it all went off like magic. I was funny, I was inspirational. Whatever I said, and I don't emember much of it except that I think I got through all my notes, was meaningful to them.
Afterwards there was 15-minute break and I signed 50 books, all they'd purchased. It was so thrilling to be the author signing the books. I've had a few small signings before, including one at my home when my book first came out, but this seemed like the professional deal. I was quite high all the rest of the afternoon.