The past three months have kept me occupied with my family's move, the release of the novel, navel gazing and lately... preparations for a public speaking opportunity. The latter started three weeks ago when a talented writing friend and local author contacted me. She was scheduled to present at an Arts Night event but unfortunately had to cancel. She suggested that the organizers consider little ole me as her stand-in for the Writer Artist portion.
On one hand, I was flattered and saw it as a serendipitous opportunity to promote the novel. On the other hand, I saw it as an Oh-my-gawd! a public speaking event?! That's the hand that immediately clasped my face and gaping mouth.
Standing and speaking in front of twenty or more people is a lot more difficult than pounding out a few paragraphs in a blog post or email newsletter. I can perform satisfactorily when speaking in front of a group if I am relaying announcements or technical instructions.
I admire people who can perform in front of an audience, speak clearly then with grace and intelligence, handle challenges as they are thrown at them. Those who know me, will know that I had done my best to prepare by listing out the order of speaking topics related to the art of writing, gathered appropriate props and chose an excerpt to read. I am anal about planning and preparation. Those who heard me chatter nervously lately will know that the last time I presented formally at an event like Toastmasters was almost 20 years ago when I was eight months pregnant with my youngest child. I hadn't persisted with opportunities to continue since.
The reading of the novel excerpt went well except I hadn't thought to print it in a larger font so I didn't have to hold the paper close to my face (d-uh) and block it off from the audience (d-uh). Well, there was a microphone, so couldn't they audience just listen to my voice and follow along with the story? Sure but this temperamental device was tormenting me with it's persistent projections of p-words. Augh!
It's a good thing the heavy rain that Friday evening kept other prospective attendees at home so that I was speaking to a smaller welcoming group of art lovers. I was relieved to see friendly, familiar faces in the crowd. I even sold three copies of the book. It's a start... My primary goal was not to sell the books; it was to promote the story and share my experiences with writing as an art, an outlet and a form of therapy.
That week, that night, I ventured out in more ways than one. I look forward to exercising my "voice" and sharing more experiences with others.
Thank you for reading this far ... and for listening too!