Since one of the anthologies I have a short story in, Dark Cheer: Cryptids Emerging, Volume Silver, happens to be all about cryptids—meaning supernatural creatures from folklore/mythology—my library asked if I would do a presentation about water-based cryptids. This went along with the theme of the library’s summer reading program, “Oceans of Possibilities,” as well as with my cryptid story, which is about an extremely tiny Leviathan (a Biblical cryptid!). So obviously I said yes.
To tie this talk into books and reading, along with explaining where these legends originated and how they likely got started, I offered book recommendations for each cryptid. Some were obvious (of course “The Little Mermaid,” although there are always people who’ve seen the movie but haven’t read the story) and some maybe less so (China Mieville’s Kraken, which is epically off the wall).
It was great fun to research and put together, and I think it went off pretty well. Plus I got to drag out one of my cute work dresses instead of my usual remote-work outfit: a non-logo T-shirt that shows up nicely on Zoom calls, jeans, and Crocs sandals.
I learned a couple of things that I’ll remember for next time:
• Bring a water bottle, so you don’t spend the entire talk worrying that your voice is going to die on you.
• Remember that everyone knows what the Loch Ness Monster and mermaids are, but not everyone knows the word cryptid. You might need to correct someone when they say, “… crypto?”
• Practice using the tech in advance, so you’re not staring at your Square reader thinking oh no please work when you try to sell copies of the anthology.
• Maybe make sure the library front desk knows about the event? That way when people call to confirm it’s happening, they don’t get a confused response.
• Make sure you have someone to advance the slides for you, because it makes your job easier, and that way you don’t have to get your kid to do it last-minute.
• Try not to have your event coincide with your kid’s troop doing an Eagle Scout project outside, because he’ll keep sneaking out to grab extra doughnuts from them.
But everyone seemed to enjoy the presentation and I got some nice support from family and friends, including some critique group members I haven’t seen in a long time or have never gotten to meet in person. Thank you all for coming!
And if any other groups would like to learn all about kelpies, selkies, and other watery magical creatures, I’ve got a fun slideshow for you.