Speaking of Speaking

A few days ago I shared with you all that I’d agreed to speak at a newcomers’ group luncheon in Tallahassee at a date to be determined later. Well, later has arrived. The date is February 9, so now I can begin working on my speech, and more importantly, over stressing.

If I were to share my speech thoughts and rough drafts here would my readers offer creative and constructive criticism? I really have no one to bounce them off of, except the cat, and she adores me, so objectivity isn’t her strong suit.

“What about Studly Doright?” You might ask. He’d just tell me to show more cleavage or leg or something. Since I’m fairly certain the group is made up almost entirely of women, I highly doubt that showing more skin would help. Besides, I’m 65. Showing even a hint of cleavage or an inch of thigh can go horribly wrong in the blink of an eye.

Peace, people.

When Your Mouth Says ‘Yes,’ but Your Brain Screams ‘NO!’

A couple of days ago I received an email from a woman I’d met at a Meetup group. It seems she’d taken on the role of securing speakers for a newcomers’ group in Tallahassee for the coming year and wondered if I’d be interested in speaking at a future luncheon.

Just reading the request turned my stomach inside out. Me? Speak in front of (gasp!) people?! I told Studly Doright about the opportunity and he said, “Do it! It’ll be fun.”

I asked for additional information: How many people typically attend these luncheons? How long would I need to speak? What in the world would I speak about?

When I had the answers, I took a day to think about it and decided that there was no way I could stand in front of 60 women for 20-30 minutes and talk about my writing. But for some reason, I said, “Sure; I’ll do that.”

Now I’m just waiting to find out which month I’ll be assigned to. In the meantime I’ll stress out about the whole thing and probably won’t sleep much. Oh, and maybe I should begin writing a speech. Speech crafting suggestions are welcome. I want to appear witty, so keep that in mind. Oh, I am so screwed.

Peace, people.

Peace, people!

The Greatest Speeches Never Heard

Martin Luther King

Winston Churchill

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Abraham Lincoln

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

These great men were known for their dynamic oratory. Their words were used to rouse their countrymen to fight or to urge them to find peace. There’s no doubt they each had a speechwriter, or even a team thereof, to help craft their words, but in the end their ability to inspire change came in equal parts from the written words and in their respective abilities to deliver them with the appropriate gravitas, fervor, and sincerity.

I would humbly submit to you that some of the world’s greatest speeches, though, have been delivered by me. My audience generally was sparse. Occasionally Natasha, the cat of my teenaged years, sat listening attentively to my various soliloquies. More often than not I implored or entertained, sometimes even thrilled, an audience made up of stuffed animals and Barbie dolls. They never exactly applauded my efforts, but I could see the approval gleaming in their eyes.

And my repertoire was immense. One day I’d speak on the importance of the civil rights movement, begging my audience to remember that we are all equal in the sight of God. Another day I’d offer the most heartfelt Oscar acceptance speech ever heard, sometimes bringing myself to tears. The orchestra never played me off stage.

Saving endangered species from extinction and conserving resources were hot topics. I educated my audiences on the importance of family planning, so concerned was I with the dangers of overpopulation. Everything was important. No subject was off limits.

There were very few times in my young life that I actually gave a speech in front of real people, and sadly, my oratory abilities didn’t carry over from my bedroom to the auditorium. In front of real live people I lost my nerve and generally spoke dispassionately and sometimes nonsensically.

As a candidate for our junior high student council I gave a lackluster speech whilst clinging desperately to the podium on the auditorium stage. I believe I barely spoke above a whisper as I promised to address the dress code if elected. Needless to say, I didn’t win. An eighth grade teacher did tell me I looked very professional in my white dress. “Not many people can wear that color,” she said. Heh.

I wanted to tell her, “Lady, I’ve got a lot of admirers.” They just happened to be stuffed or plastic.

As a teacher I guess I did finally get my live audiences. Occasionally those sweet elementary or middle school students seemed mesmerized by my impassioned lesson delivery. Or maybe they just needed to hear, “Yes, you will be tested over this!”

Peace, people.

The Spotlight

In response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt:

Witness Protection. When you do something scary or stressful–bungee jumping or public speaking, etc.–do you prefer to be surrounded by friends or by strangers? Why?

No shrinking violet, am I
Yet the circumstances do decree
If an audience of strangers or friends
Is preferable to me.

When speaking to a group
Of unfamiliar folks my
Sense of timing is impeccable
And I’m full of witty jokes.

At karaoke, though, I find
The better I know the crowd
The more relaxed my vocal chords
So I sing out loud and proud.

If ever I should bungee jump
I want six friends around
To serve as my pall bearers
In case I splatter on the ground.

Peace, people!

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