We Need to Talk

I talk to my dog a lot.

Occasionally, I’ll exchange a few lyrical syllables with my cat.

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When my teenagers are around—and if you’ve ever owned a couple, you’ll know that the frequency of those events diminish exponentially in relation to the number of Facebook friends they acquire—I remind myself to listen instead of lecture. Well, that’s the plan anyway.

But ‘talking’ is something I’m going to have to get good at—and fast. Because if you publish a book, history tells us that the success of that book reaching the hands of interested readers only happens if you actually announce it exists.

And you have to announce this A LOT.

But this is a problem. For me anyway.

Public speaking is something I used to do and got paid for it. But three things were categorically different back then. One – I was pretty young. Two – this was the music industry. And three – I knew that most of the individuals in the audience were three sheets to the wind and wouldn’t remember what I’d said in the morning if they found themselves presented with a pop quiz at breakfast.

This time, it’s a whole new kettle of fish. Or ballgame. Or can of worms if you really love clichés—which I don’t, and avoid like the plague.

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As a young mother, I got used to the idea that repetition was key to remembering. I lived by the book of layering life skills—which is just a fancy way of saying that I came to realize what all newbie parents realize: gurgling, wobbling infants have precious little recollection of you spending an inordinate about of time warning them that they should never do drugs, discover what inspires them, and always check the expiration date on a quart of milk before drinking from it.

Therefore, I got really good at repeating myself. Ad nauseum. And this is pretty much what my children have decided is my name translated into Latin.

And speaking about my upcoming book would be a helluva lot easier if that was the only book I have written and was still steeped within its plot, characters, and setting. But I’m not. I am two and a half books ahead of it, and writing a blog, and critiquing other writers’ manuscripts,

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and continually in the process of creating new untraceable identities for myself in order to keep one step ahead of the British legal system that is in pursuit of an unpaid parking ticket. Yes, the sign said ‘Diplomatic cars only.’ But after a quick conversation with my rental car, I immediately surmised it was extraordinarily tactful. It qualified.

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My point is, I can’t keep everything straight, and some things I’ve allowed to leak out of my head in order to make room for others. And not having a well-organized memory palace, I’ve forgotten in which rooms I’ve placed important people and data.

How many folks will be willing to sit in front of me at the podium and patiently wait while I attempt to recall if this was the book where I wrote about my passion for all things related to the US Postal Service, or if it was the one where I canonized the inner workings of college dormitory laundry facilities and the secrets withheld by the Dean of Sanitation? I think we can safely assume I’ll be offered a short grace period of substance summoning.

That said, my desk is becoming littered with sticky notes, wall pasted pages, and 3D models made from deli plastic spoons all meant to keep fresh in my mind the topics I will soon be rattling on about. And these desperate attempts to solidify needed data in my head are bleeding over into more areas than just my workspace.

I’ve got a chart of bullet points in the bathroom.

Opening up the fridge reveals a list of statistics that illustrates the bullet points.

Turning back the duvet on my bed uncovers the twelve most helpful and amazing memory tricks—three of which I am capable of remembering—and it also uncovers cat hair. Apparently someone else in my household is determined to ward of dementia.

Or maybe she’s got a lecture coming up and our calendars have not yet synced.

I’ve also forced myself to listen to a lot of podcasts about public speaking and body language, because apparently even if you have the most dynamic ability to recall your sparkling speech, it can be wholly disconcerting if the only things barely moving are your upper and lower lips and you’re in a death lock gripping stare with the coffee pot on the refreshment table.

I get it.

Move about. Engage in eye contact with the entire room. Make sweeping arm gestures, but not ones that will leave folks wondering if you’re signaling for help or attempting to land a Boeing 757.

And change the pitch of your voice but don’t display any vocal fry. Not too high, nor too low, don’t swallow your words, nor over pronounce them. Use the mic, try to project, speak from the diaphragm, make sure you’ve got all your teeth in—the list goes on.

Preparing to speak in front of a crowd is about as nerve-wracking as being an intern who is allowed into your first surgical experience and handed the job of holding onto the life-preserving clamped aorta just before being warned by the nurse opposite you that you should be careful because Nigel, the anesthesiologist, is quite the practical joker and loves to sneak up on first year residents and catch them off guard by tickling them under the armpits.

So I’m trying to get prepared. For all the upcoming talking.

At the rate things are going, with all the hazards, pitfalls, and potential snags, I may just talk myself right out of talking altogether.



Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all talked about down in the pub. Plus, you can see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone.

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84 thoughts on “We Need to Talk

  1. Your children and my children must thing we’re the same person! I’m so glad you said that though…I thought I was the only one that had to repeat things so much! The public speaking does sound like my worst nightmare! I hope it goes okay for you….presumably if you can get through the first talk, the next will be easier, and so on and so on….at least you can keep telling yourself that….besides, it’s great to develop new skills right? Good luck with it!

    Rob’s drawings all get a round of applause this evening! Love that diplomatic car!! Too cute!

    • Same brain, different body, Torrie. Mothers unite! And then go quietly into the night to find hard liquor.
      I think our stories are all the same, with just different book bindings.
      Thanks for the words of encouragement. I’ll keep on truckin’. And we’ll see where that gets me. First talk might end up being the last talk too. o_O

  2. May I suggest wide eloquent sweeping hand gestures (more ‘air steward giving safety instructions less directing the actual plane itself’) but in reality, you will be reading the points that you have written on your forearm. Completely inconspicuous!? (It’s gotta work, speaking of gotta, hilarious and inspired cartoons Mr G!) Mrs P, I am really hoping your book is based on the internal machinations of the US postal service, I wait with bated breath. Back to the public speaking, I have always avoided ‘picturing the audience in their underwear’ scenario, being much too scared of ‘the blushing factor’ or becoming so caught up in my vivid imagination that I would start screaming ‘put some clothes on for goodness sakes!’ If ever you need a new hiding spot from the British Secret Service, we have a spare bedroom here.

    • I LOVE the idea of writing everything all across my forearms. That’s brilliant, Cheergerm. It would be equally as awesome to find myself one of those nearly invisible presidential teleprompters. I still haven’t figured out how they’re transparent on one side, but not the other. Ebay, maybe?
      And I agree, the dress down casual audience has never been a catchy idea for me. What has worked in the past is a giant spotlight that is so piercingly luminous it blocks out everything beyond one foot in front of you.
      I sure hope libraries and elementary school classrooms have a good winch system to haul up my lighting needs. This could get complicated.
      Lastly, your house would be first on my list for hide out choice. I almost wish I were on the lam right now so I could get a taste of your cooking. Or lamb, if that may be the case. 😛

  3. I too am on the run from the British legal system – having ducked out of there back in the early nineties without paying my share of the poll tax – the one Mrs Thatcher thought was a brilliantly fair way of sharing the running of the country among the populace so that no matter what your living circumstances or income everyone paid the same……

    You’ve done the speaking thing before and really, no matter the circumstances, it’s a bit like riding a bike and you’ll soon be up there waving your arms around at exactly the right speed, uttering those words impeccably with all your teeth in and we all know you will be fabulous at it! Getting the jitters beforehand is just a ruse to make sure you over prepare and therefore have it all at your fingertips. Remember?

    I think this is my first opportunity to say how much I loved visiting your mountain top and you and Haggis – and there’s a story I hope will make it into the next post I write about a chocolate biscuit and some artichoke dip…… 😉 xoxo

    • Hahaha!! You’re such a gracious and beautiful woman, Pauline. I think it’s another thing that draws me to you and your writing. You make it look effortless to describe the everyday in an extraordinary way. I will truly look forward to seeing that little blunder in black and white. Good heavens, that’s basically all I write about!
      And it appears there are many mysteries to the contented crafter I’ve yet discover. You lived in the UK? It’s clear you need to return to Virginia to swap a few hundred more stories.

  4. What an extraordinary amount of work goes into the promotion of a book. And here I just assumed the writing bit was all the work. I spoke in front of a group of women about a year ago on the subject of organizing. I was a nervous wreck before hand, while driving to the venue and up until I stood up to speak. I wondered why I had ever agreed to speak in the first place and vowed never to do it again. Then the magic happened: within a few short minutes I relaxed, engaged with the crowd and spoke on a subject near and dear to my heart. You have amazing presence and you’ll be talking about a book that you wrote from your heart and soul. I know you’ll do great.


    • I remember speaking to a few writer friends of mine as they’d each be going through the 12-18 months before publication and hearing them groan, sometimes cry, and more often than not, unscrew a thermos full of high proof alcohol to guzzle from. The comments were generally the same. The writing of the book was a cake walk compared to the work that comes thereafter. Writers–especially the massive chunk who hunker down in cave-like holes and rarely come up to see if any other humans are around–make for poor public speakers. Better to hire someone good looking, affable, and comfortable with public transportation to play the part of you. No one has to know it’s an actor. I may give this some serious thought.
      But if that does not fly, I will use your experience as a bolster of courage. Magic can happen. (Especially around Alys Milner!)

      • It all sounds grueling, Shelley. Truly. What I tell myself, my boys and anyone else who will listen is that acting confident can make you feel confident and no one is the wiser. Many actors, like writers, are shy and reserved. The difference is the desire for validation on an exterior level (acting) vs interior (writing or painting for instance). You looked me straight in the eye when I first met you, not something that everyone can do. I have great confidence that you’ll be successful in your endeavors, but look forward to the day too, when you can return to your writing desk where you are most comfortable. In the end, it’s not what we can and can’t do, but what we enjoy doing, that soothes are soul.

        Thank you for your treasured words.

        By the by, some seeds are flying your way as we speak, assuming of course that the postmaster completes his/her end of the bargain.

        • I bet Mother Nature wakes up each morning and asks herself, “How can I be a smidge more like Alys?” You truly are the definition of nurture. It’s one of the things that make you undeniably magnetic.
          I remember the long ago of working in front of crowds and the grueling, uncomfortable lessons that were drilled until they became slick and fluent. Much of it I did enjoy. Being part of a troupe that endlessly labored to lift a crowd to their feet with applause–yeah, that was heady. Being chased around tables and couches–not so much fun.
          Clearly this will be different. It is more focused, more purpose-driven, and tickets will be substantially discounted.
          In the end, I suppose I’m not looking for a mighty ovation, but rather a quiet nod of, “Thanks. You made a difference.”
          The life of a storyteller. But to be so, one must find those to tell it to.

  5. I am still so excited about this! I want links! I want to review, and get other people to read your books, but you will do fine. People love you, and I am sure they will love your books. I’m already waiting at the door with money in hand. ^_^

    • Oh, WOW, Alex, what a daymaker of a comment! It’s rather amazing how words can transform one’s physical stature because at the moment I’m feeling about ten feet tall from your kindness and encouragement.
      I promise to keep you updated–links and all.
      A million thanks, Alex. xox

      • Shelley brought it up a few posts ago, but because she is a super secret agent woman (and modest) it’s mostly under wraps. From what I could gather, it is a children’s book, but there are others in the pipeline?!

        • Here are a couple of book titles I scrapped since it is not about these topics:
          Mommy, Why Does Daddy Wear an Orange Jump Suit?
          Jeff & Jon, Joined at the Hip. Literally
          Decomposition: A Scratch ‘n Sniff Book

          But maybe one day, right, Alex? I mean one should never say never.

          • Love the last one. XD and I agree. If zombie books for babies can be a thing, all of those could make a killing! 😉

  6. I just love the idea of talking to teenagers.From my experience, when you actually found one you were lucky to get a word in edgeways. It was easier talking to the cat and he and I ignored each other all the time. His messages to me were all non verbal in the shape of stolen socks or piddle in my slipper. Heaven help you if you got on his bad side by taking him to the vet ( not me luckily) as the slippers received a different substance.
    If someone had told me that talking to people was a necessity if you write a book I wouldn’t have put pen to paper. Yes, I know someone should have told me.It was a horrifying experience just doing a youtube piece reading part of a chapter, for me, never mind the readers.
    I’ll stick to promotions through the social groups like facebook and twitter rather than attempt a face to face sales pitch. You’re so much braver than me Shelley. I hope the memory lasts and you don’t just stand there wondering what the pieces of string tied to your finger are for.
    xxx Sending Massive Hugs xxx

    • I can’t believe that you have escaped the clamoring demand for physical appearances from your reading fans, David. This seems an impossibility to me, and a crushing blow to your following tribe. Although now I’ll have to hunt down that Youtube vid of yours. I bet it’s a hoot.
      Also, now I’ve got this new mental image of seeing myself at the front of a room nearly encased in twine. Including my tongue, as it is the first thing to usually get tied up and twisted. I’ve got a lot of preparation ahead of me. Maybe I should practice on the most unforgiving and critical of crowds? The Cat. (first I shall hide my slippers)

  7. I’m sure you’ll find Shelley, that with all the preparation in the world or none atall, when the moment comes the adrenalin will take over and you’ll fly on auto pilot. I’m convinced you’ll be the Biggles of public speaking, super ace! Chocks away…….. !! 😀 (PS Love the cat exchange and diplomatic car Rob!)

    • Wow, Jane. A comparison with the great James Bigglesworth? That’s blushworthy praise. Coincidentally, when I was doing my pilot training–and off on my first solo flight–I remember shaking from fear while having to practice “touch and goes” on airstrips which in my mind should have been more aptly named “crash and burns.” Thankfully they weren’t, but the thing that got me through the seizing fear was belting out the theme song from Indiana Jones while coming in to land.
      I wonder if James had a theme song. Those books would likely do well if newly adapted for film.
      He’s going to need a female sidekick though. (maybe some fabulous aerial photographer?? 😛 )

  8. I’m sure you’ll be brilliant at the speaking, Shelley, but it’s understandable to be nervous beforehand. It helps if you love what you’re talking about of course, so I reckon you’re on to a winner being able to talk about one of your own books. 🙂
    If being faced with many people is daunting then it can help to pick out 4 or 5 faces in the crowd, around 2/3 of the way back, and pretend they’re the only other people there and swap your gaze between each of them in turn. Well, it used to help me, anyway. You’ll find something that works for you, though, because you’re smart. 🙂

    • Maybe I can hire someone to hold up massive cue cards at the back of the room? Or maybe I’ll make the whole thing a lot more audience participation. I could make the lectures more like a giant book club and have everyone else talk about what they read. Even better, I could get rid of all the chairs, make everyone shed their shoes and sit down on the floor, and we’ll all just quietly meditate over the topics of the book. I think I’m getting closer to a comfortable plan, Laura. 😉

  9. I want to get on the advisory committee for the Dean of Sanitation. I have a couple of colleagues who desperately need to be flushed…
    During a 20 + year career of teaching and lecturing, I have somehow managed to avoid being videotaped and subsequently forced to watch myself in action. I plan to continue with this policy of avoidance and deferral. But they say that seeing yourself on tape quickly divests you of any problem habits and (paradoxically) inculcates confidence…

    • That’s wonderfully funny, Linnet. Monthly faculty flushes would likely keep a lot of teachers on their toes.
      The recommendation of practicing in front of a video camera is one I’ve come across myriad times. Maybe, if I get one that I’m finally satisfied with, I’ll simply send the tape in place of myself. I’m guessing most schools and libraries will then send me back a video tape of my payment for the visit.

  10. Whew! Although I did duck the responsibilities of teenagers. . Public speaking is luckily an easy subject for me. Sophomore year, my English teacher gave anyone the opportunity to get extra credit for speaking about a random subject for 2 minutes at the end of class. I hated school and just was there to pass. These extra credit points were a cake walk for me. Since then, no issues babbling in public!

  11. I well remember speaking in pubic with a styrofoam cup of coffee in my hand. The attention of the audience escalated dramatically when one of my fingers somehow pushed through the base of the cup and the coffee started escaping down my wrist. I continued “without missing a beat” which maintained their attention. They were so complimentary afterwards as they had, apparently, not been to such an entertaining talk before. Was it the subject matter? The presentation? The delivery? The escaping coffee? 🙂

    • Oh, Colin! You poor fella. And so incredibly dedicated. I’m wondering if this might be just what I’ll need to keep a crisp and pointed focus on the subject at hand rather than the folks in the crowd. Nothing like scalding pain to really put things into perspective, right?
      Now that’s a talk I hope someone was able to videotape for you. Priceless.

  12. Aw, you will do great! Looking forward to hearing about your book, Shelley. Public speaking: it doesn’t bother me as long as I don’t have to memorize anything. Those high school thespian days are long gone. I don’t know how I managed to memorize an entire script!

    • Yes! It’s the memorization bit that has me clutching at my gut at the moment. Long ago, I had to memorize lyrics–and that seemed to be fairly easy as I had a couple of tricks to depend upon if I ever had a brain fart and went blank on the words. I’d either point the microphone to the audience and say, “Sing along! You know the words!” Or start introducing all the guys in the band. Pretty foolproof.
      So that’s it. I need a band to back me up. 😀

  13. Shelley,

    Remember Saturday evenings…? Either a roasted chicken in the oven, mashed potatoes and its two cups of potato water on the side for mashing… or homemade meatballs and pasta on the stove with the radio on listening to A Prairie Home Companion? Those were the days…

    If you speak as well as you write, you will be brilliant; and, you are. Remember the saying, “shoot for the moon, and if you miss…” You know the rest.

    You are, my, Garrison Keillor.

    Much love,

    Stoshu 🙂

    • Yep, in fact, those still are my Saturday nights.
      Garrison Keillor can never retire. Or die for that matter. Well, that’s a little harsh. Maybe I’ll give the okay an hour after I shuffle off this mortal coil, but not until then.

  14. First of all, Shelley, I can’t wait to read your book! Yay! 🙂

    My memory is terrible, too, and I constantly forget what I was neck-deep in doing two years ago. Luckily it comes back after I plug my brain into the wall socket for a while and jolt it awake. (Or maybe it’s from the sludgy black tea.) I think public speaking about your own accomplishments is like having a job interview, which explains why I hate it so much. It’s just different from other public speaking for me – if I’m passionate about a topic, it’s easier. I know you’re getting overwhelmed with advice, but I do like the articles in a blog called Public Words (www.publicwords.com). Lots of common sense and useful tips there.

    (And Rob, please never leave Shelley’s blog, because then I wouldn’t get to laugh hysterically at Shelley getting pierced by a cat. Even though I love her dearly, I love being entertained by you even more.)

    • Thank you, Sue–and I am determined to see many of your words in print as well. I shall keep campaigning for that to come to fruition. You have such a talent and have been a marvelous teacher to me.
      And I agree, so many of the terrific books and podcasts I’ve been reading and listening to lately all agree on the element of “passion” as a crucial component regarding successful engagement with your audience. And I am passionate about storytelling. I just have to translate those skills to oration as well.
      Also, many thanks for the link. I can’t wait to check it out. Any tips are welcome ones, so bring it on!

  15. I took a semester of public speaking in high school. We were the beta school for this class. Visual is always a must. Moving around is preferred but there are other ways to achieve of effect, thank God. What I remember most about that course was that the teacher kept pushing the K.I.S.S. method.

    • And now you’ve caught my interest, Glynis. The K.I.S.S. method? Is that Keep It Short and Simple? Oh, that is right up my alley. A five-minute lecture would be wholly doable. Except if I’m booked for an hour, I’ll have to do it twelve times. 😛

  16. I haven’t a single doubt that you will absolutely kill it at your speaking engagement. Like riding a bike, and all that jazz. Oops. Cliché. 🙂

    Just so I get this straight though, you are now promoting a book you wrote nearly 3 books ago? You are more like an actor than a writer! Aren’t they always promoting films they worked on years prior? I don’t envy you the mental work involved in sorting those specific stories from all the stories you’ve written since. Still, you’ve got this, Shelley!

    • It’s weird, isn’t it, Nancy? The whole time warp bit? Typically, or ideally, it’s often suggested that a strategic plan of action for an author is to have one book you’re promoting, one book in editing with the publisher, one book with your critique group and one you’re still writing. And keeping all that inside one head that barely has room for all the lyrics of the National Anthem is proving to be challenging.
      But boy, do I appreciate your words of encouragement. 😀

  17. As much as I hate to admit it I enjoy talking. My first wife said, repeatedly, that I talked so much simply because I liked to hear my own voice. That could be right. Your post today was particularly appealing to me. Repetition to me is a great part of most folks lives. As a parent I think you have to repeat yourself so often it almost becomes comedy. Back in the ” notorious” 60’s I did quite a bit of public speaking. It was all in a political context and the crowds were mostly malcontents locked in post pubescent angst. Of course when you work and your job entails teaching folks repetition is a standard tool in your bag of tricks. And your words are always welcome to me so feel free to repeat anytime you want. I had no idea you have already written 2 books. Pray tell what are they? Oh and Rob’s picture of the cat is particularly clever. So as always thanks for sharing.

    • Well, in truth, Benson, it’s more like 8 books. But some of them will never see the light of day. Some of them are meant to be supreme examples of how NOT to write. And they’re all on various subjects–two on whisky, two historical fiction, one mystery and fantasy. Some will find a home between bound covers, others will be used as kindling for the hearth.
      And how fascinating that you used to rally folks for matters of government. Somehow I’m not surprised. Your words, Benson, have always exuded calm and confidence. Two things speech makers are desperate to have, but oftentimes missing.

    • Exactly, Annabelle. I think you’ve nailed it. The massive stressball we become from simply thinking of the event versus that produced by the event itself are probably miles apart in size and stature. If I could only get someone to put me into an induced coma until it’s time to stand on stage …
      And yes, the growing problem of our pets and social media. When will the nightmare end? 😛

  18. Great post again.
    I’ve only once given a talk, and that was to the members of a ladies’ group I belonged to when they were short of speakers.
    My title was the Bear Necessities, but a friend had typed it up as the Bare Necessities, and knowing how we lived on a tight budget, she thought it would be about frugal shopping, baked beans and spam, when in truth it was about Teddy Bears.
    Actually, it went down very well, and it wasn’t until the end that I realised for the last 10 minutes of my talk, I’d been holding on to Grandad as I used to as a child!

    • Ding Ding Ding!! I think you’ve found the solution. I may just plan to bring a stuffed animal up to the podium with me. Or maybe my hound. He’s hugely comforting. And lots of folks travel with a dog for assistance, right? That might stave off any uncomfortable questions as to why I’m clutching a giant, blue replica of Cookie Monster from the children’s TV show Sesame Street, which would be my alternative.
      I need a security blanket.
      I wonder how many folks thought you were going to be lecturing about the joys of living naked? 😛

  19. I used to give presentations in my former life – on silly things like process analysis. As the fates would have it, I also got a ticket from “His Majesty the Prince of Wales” for parking an ancient VW in front of Buckingham Palace…. course that was a while ago. I’m sure now-a-days I’d be shot! Loved this post and the graphics. Can’t wait to read your book! jan

    • Surely you’ve got a few tricks up your sleeve, Jan? I’m all ears.
      And parking in front of the palace? I’m chortling at the thought of an old VW in front of the posh Beefeaters. Eras clashing left and right. But who knows what would happen today. I mean, it appears we’re quite comfortable landing small aircraft on some of our most important government buildings, so who’s to say an adorable car would cause anything more than a “tsk” from management now? But maybe don’t test that theory.
      Cheers, Jan!

  20. well i’m part of that group looking forward to links and more updates about the book shelley. since i’ve not done any promotional public speaking i don’t have much actual advice to offer.

    but i do have this one idea. you and rob travel together and while you’re speaking he can interject or act out a funny cartoon periodically. it would be like ‘peak perspective – the live tour!’ now, that’s a tour worth standing inline to get the first tickets. i know my idea may not be great, but i’m betting your book is – cheers and all the best shelley.

    • Mac, you’ve come up with a cracker of a plan! My mind is reeling with ideas. I’m thinking black lights and massive fluorescent bird puppets, and maybe a half-time show of Charro – young Mexican cowboys showing off their rope skills. Okay, this may take some time.
      And a lot of money.
      But where there’s a will there’s a way.
      Now I just have to get my name in someone’s will …

      • ha, well shelley if you need an opening act i’ll start brushing off my 5th grade* mexican hat dance right now. “1, 2, 3…1, 2,3,…” all i need now is a sombrero. *true story

  21. Shelley, as I write this, I am listening to the rain fall outside my house and I’m thinking that it’s a shame we can’t enjoy a bit of our favorite beverage right now and again, before public speaking engagements.
    Hey! Who says we can’t?
    Then again, that might make it even harder to remember which book you are speaking about!
    Good luck my friend!

    • You’ve got TONS of public speaking to do this year, don’t you, Laurie? Aren’t you out there giving stump speeches on the campaign trail? I would think if anyone had this skill nailed down, it would be an individual dipping their toes into the pool of politics. You exude this beautiful tone of confidence. Maybe you have fresher air down south? 😛
      And yes, how I wish I lived in some magical world where we could whip up a memory elixir. Problems solved.
      Loved the sound of that rain …

  22. Oh yes, writing a book is the easy part. Public speaking – argh! But if anyone can do it, I’m sure you can – one wee dram won’t hurt beforehand – that way if it doesn’t go perfectly, you won’t care :). I love the cliché cartoon and that you’re a fugitive from the UK law.

    • Here we have a true blue expert. Let’s see, Anne, you’re about to release your third book is it? Surely you’ve gathered a boatload of experience with the speech engagements, yes?
      And one wee dram is basically the cure for nearly all my ills.
      Whisky bliss.

  23. Shelley, you’ve just described every day of teaching (repeating oneself ad nauseum, because someone ALWAYS doesn’t hear the first…or second…or third time) as well as every time I’ve had to perform in piano recitals. Public speaking is not my favorite thing, either, but for some reason, playing a musical instrument where your fingers have to work right and you have to keep the rhythm going and monitor dynamics…now that was terrifying! A few years ago I did resort to the “fifth of scotch” remedy (really half a beer) and found it worked wonders. But maybe I shouldn’t continue to do that.

    Best of luck to you in your preparations. I can’t wait to hear about what’s coming up for you and your work!

    • I’ve decided with all the thumbs up regarding a wee nip beforehand, I’m may likely go for it and then strap my whisky flask to my leg and wear a skirt with buttons up the side for easy access. I bet that’s going to go down really well in classrooms and libraries, eh?

  24. Offer copious amounts of alcohol to your audience and all your problems will magically vanish. Or is that not a diplomatic move? Rob, loving that your dignified and thoughtful car is both wearing a bowler hat and sporting a rakish mustache.

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