The scene: Tan Tar A Resorts, in the spacious ballroom, dotted with round tables covered in thick maroon tablecloths.
The carpet: a bad '90s design of interlocking circles and squares sprawled across golf course grass green.
The people: English teachers from across Missouri, armed with their ink pens, blank notebooks, and enough snacks to power a small country.
The event: Barry Lane's impromptu afternoon keynote at the Write to Learn festival. Actually, scratch that. Barry Lane's Literacy Cabaret performance. And yours truly had been selected to be a member of Mr. Lane's infamous entourage of English teachers.
Barry Lane: delightfully quirky, and he is also quite persistent. I wouldn't say he asked me to be in his literacy cabaret, but really, who could say no to him? He's also surprisingly well-prepared for unexpected performances, as the scheduled speaker was unable to attend at the last minute. Despite the short notice, he had all the accoutrements necessary for outfitting me for my spin on the stage: filmy scarves, quirky sunglasses, interesting headpieces, and more.
My role: Gail from Versailles (which, if you're not familiar with Missouri's penchant for butchering French words, is pronounced Ver-sales). Barry described my role as a "long-suffering but genuine teacher," so naturally, for my costume, I selected a gorgeous peacock blue scarf, star-shaped sunglasses and a beaded headpiece worthy of Cleopatra.
Show time: Barry strummed his guitar, gestured to me and my fellow literacy chanteuses, and with a toss of our scarves, we swanned gracefully onto the tiny stage, blinking under the bright lights, trying not to dissolve into giggles.
English teachers: we're all just waiting for our moment on the stage.