Smoke and Mirrors

A week ago today I presented my first talk on River of January. Conscious thought ceased, my mouth filled with alum–but, luckily some old teacher training kicked in.

I soldiered through the musical opening, the introduction song where the computer speakers didn’t work. You know, that opening. Quickly abandoning the hushed song, I dove quickly into the power point. And the audience seemed to like what they saw and heard. I measured that success in the number of eyes open, and the astonishing fact that no one tried to escape. Still, I realized later that I forgot to read an excerpt from the manuscript, and the idea of doing so never cross my thoughts.

Yet, in light of surviving this first foray into book promotion, I asked the Arts Center Director for an endorsement. His name is Greg, and what he sent left me wondering if we were at the same event.  His words were so very kind and flattering. His letter reminded me of my teacher evaluations–where an administrator would assess my teaching while observing my classroom. Later, reading the review, I’d always think, “fooled ’em again.”

To repeat, I am grateful for my teacher training.  When things go badly, I adjust and move forward.


To Whom It May Concern,

We were honored to host Gail Chumbley as part of our performing series for a discussion of her novel, River of January. Gail’s presentation highlights the true story of her In-laws through an engaging hour of oral storytelling, slides and music. She uses her years of teaching experience to creatively capture the audience’s attention and bring her subjects to life. Our members were thrilled to view personal family treasures and photographs Gail utilized in her novel. We appreciated the opportunity to ask her questions and visit with her one on one to learn more about the art and craft of researching, writing and publishing her work.

Gail’s presentation is a must for those interested in literary arts or exploring the history within River of January, as this novel is also a story of America. I highly recommend Gail as a speaker for your group or organization.


Greg ——


Nice, huh?!

By the way, alum is a horrible powder that sucks up all the saliva in one’s mouth, leaving an iron-clad pucker.


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