The Award for Tortillas Goes To…

Back in the summer, I was scanning around the universe (or at least my part of the universe) and started wondering… how do you get to be a speaker for the Pima County Library System? We live here now and we have a library really right down the road from us, so it seemed like the thing to do. After a little bit of searching, I came to the page for the Pima County Government and realized I would have to go through the procurement process. Basically it’s how the county picks everything, from who installs their doors to who provides their gas to who speaks at their library.

Thus began a long adventure in procurement. About half-way through the process, my husband also decided he wanted to try his hand at presenting (he’s an awesome speaker), so he jumped in. After filling out massive paperwork (in many levels of legalize), we were invited to do a sample presentation to the board. Off we went to one of the branches of the library and we took our turns presenting a sample of the kind of workshop we’d be doing. I, of course, did my presentation on publishing in the new markets (I also have an offering for teens who want to write genre fiction). Michael presented on training for marathons. We both felt like it went okay, headed off to the mall for a smoothie and then we waited for the answer while the library board went through all the notes on the presentations and made their decisions.

If you ever attend a presentation for the Pima County Library System, you have to know you are seeing some dedicated speakers. Seriously, you can’t just have a whim to do it and be presenting. They make you work for it, which is kind of cool.

Anyway, so time went by and more time. And more time. And more. I kept checking the Pima County Procurement website, checking the awards. Door installation got awarded. So did some lighting. My favorite was the tortilla award. Seriously, they did a procurement award for tortillas for the county!! I didn’t win, in case you were wondering. Good since I have no idea how to make or obtain large numbers of tortillas for county events.

But on Tuesday, after long and apparently tough, negotiation, we heard the news. We had been awarded procurement for the library system. So Michael and I (he was listed as Michael Jay LORRAINE Petersen, though, so that should be fun to correct) will both be available as speakers to the librarians in the area as they make their choices for library speakers for 2013. If our topics appeal, they’ll then call us and set up times to hear our speeches (we aren’t speaking together, of course. Publishing and training for a marathon are…. well, kind of exactly the same… hmmm, maybe next year).

Maybe next year I’ll try for tortillas. Or Eliminator Pumps and Parts. Or Snow Removal Services (because that happens in Tucson). Or…. oh, what the hell. I’ll try for them all!!!


  • Jenn Lee

    Congrats to you both! How lucky are the people that get to learn from you?

  • The first thing I thought of when I read the tortilla thing was the tradition of graduations in Tucson. Have you been to any since you moved here? High school or college, really shouldn’t matter. At the point when graduation has been awarded by the final speaker, graduates toss up tortillas all over the place and they zip around like flour and lard frisbee-UFOs. Never fails to be hilarious.

    Other states have beach balls. Pffffft. Little do they know what they’re missing out on.

    Also… Congrats on becoming a library speaker! Hope to hear your name in upcoming events around town. 😀