Book Talk at Rossville Library

Posted on January 22, 2010 (Subscribe to Blog)

I had fun at the Rossville Public Library last night. I never did count the number of showees but I seem to remember ten or fifteen.

As usual I don't bother planning what I'm going to talk about, and I'm pretty sure this shows! All I really need is a starting point, as once I get started on a subject I'm hard to shut up. But it's more fun that way, and plus, even if I planned what I was going to say and read from a script, often the audience will ask a question and the talk will shift to a different track and I'll go off on a tangent. So I wing it, and enjoy it more than I ever did when I tried to stick to a script.

Back in England, when I worked at a large company for fourteen years, I had to do Health & Safety presentations for rooms of 10-20 people. I hated it! In those days I planned my 20-minute talk carefully and often floundered when I "forgot the next bit." And like many people, I suffered from what the lady in Training called "the flutters," where the heart is hammering and your words are tumbling out and you're forgetting to breathe. But these days, being much, much, much older, I don't get that problem anymore. Instead I just get a sort of cold dread ten minutes before the talk. But it vanishes instantly, and everything's fine, and I wonder: What was all the fuss about?

I think most people feel nervous about talking in front of people, whether it's a small group of ten or fifteen, or a larger group of 75 as I had to face during my first public speaking at the Walker County Chamber Luncheon last year. I don't know how I would feel in front of hundreds, but I guess I'll have to deal with that when I'm as famous as J. K. Rowling. ;-) I'll never forget watching J. K. read an excerpt from one of her Harry Potter books; she stood up on stage in front of thousands of fans (and millions sitting at home watching TV) and looked pretty nervous about it too. But she did good. Yikes, what pressure! Still, if I was earning a few bob like her, I guess I'd force myself to go through that too. Maybe.

In the meantime, my own humble book talks (which consist of me rambling about vaguely book-related things mixed up with whatever subject the audience gets me on) are a lot of fun, at least for me.

Interesting for the audience? You'd have to ask them.

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