cafe mama

finding magic every day

igniting chickens, saving my life . october 26 . 2007

sarah gilbert telling people about chickens, photo josh bancroft
photo Josh Bancroft
I really enjoyed telling nearly 300 people all about my chickens.

I was certainly nervous to present at Ignite Portland, a techy-geeky-advertising-flavored event its organizers describe by asking, "If you had five minutes on stage what would you say?" I pitched my presentation idea: "How keeping chickens will save your life," and as I started working on the slides (20, each to be displayed for exactly 15 seconds) I wondered what had possessed me to use the word "save" instead of "change."

But hyperbole suits me, and soon I was busily typing things such as, "yes. yes, I did. in a world where we are told what NOT to do, here was an affirmative. keep chickens." and "suddenly, our wild spaces, our worms and weeds and creepy crawly things, have meaning." I made it good. I made it pretty. I believe every word I wrote.

I twiddled through the slide show I created, crying a little.

When the night came, I fed my little one as much as his tummy would hold, I brushed my hair, I put on the swankiest outfit that would fit around my still-shrinking belly (also covering my sure-to-get-leaky breasts), and I tremulously bussed to Weiden + Kennedy, home of Just Do It and a very large wooden (?) beaver. I walked in. I was tremendously out of place, I knew no one.

But there. There was a knitter! I sat down next to her. I silently thanked her for being herself, and I watched the presentations. Some of them were smooth. Some of them were jumpy or jittery or uncomfortable. I felt a teeny bit better.
knitting and laughing at ignite portland

At the break, I got the very last dregs of Greek food and stood uncomfortably against a rail, eating as fast as possible without (I hope) looking like I was eating my first meal in a week. A few people glanced, and went on their way. Then wonder of wonders, someone came up to me, whose face I didn't quite know. "Sarah?" she asked. It was Mara, with whom I'd been becoming friends over Twitter. Soon, I felt better (though still awkward), and by the time it was my turn at the mic I was almost confident. See for yourself...

I think I looked good in my expensive pre-baby clothes. Not very Portland, but good. And it's awful the way I was bouncing back and forth, as if I was putting a baby back to sleep, through the first half. But people responded, I think, they laughed and they told me my presentation was good. And I left feeling powerful, connected, and very, very proud of my chickens.

paying the bills

read my previous post . a school for pioneers . october 21 . 2007