Thursday, January 23, 2014

"It's Not That I Can't Help...

I just don't want to..."

This morning I'm reminded of this, my favorite quotation from the movie, Volunteers, about the Peace Corps. The film came out when I was an idealistic young volunteer-in-training a few decades ago and we all went as a group to see it in Miami before heading off to the jungles of, well, Jamaica. I was a tiny bit offended by it (as was the Peace Corps itself, according to Wikipedia) and I may have even left the theater early but I did laugh when Tom Hanks delivered that line. (Daily Trivia: this is the film where Tom met Rita, still his wife; also when I met Andy, still my husband!) Gene Siskel stated that the film had "two lame performances by its leading actors, the vastly overrated Tom Hanks...and the consistently disappointing John Candy.” Just saw that "overrated" guy at the Golden Globes and I wonder if Gene ever regretted saying that.

And so this was brought to mind when my fellow She Writes Spring author and Goodreads pal, Rossandra White, wrote on her blog, “So here I am now trying to negotiate the rocky shoals of publicizing the book, like interviews, public readings, etc. My brain keels over every time I think about it, and I break out into a cold sweat.” Yes Rossandra, I, too, am feeling nervous about my impending public speaking engagements (which are literally months away) for my debut book, Breathe, and find it all a tiny bit ironic.

For some time now I’ve been trying to wrap my own brain around my impending public speaking as well, wishing I’d joined Toastmasters so many years ago as I’d planned. (Be brave; do hard things!) Instead, I switched colleges to avoid taking public speaking, which was probably misguided. And I’ve been trying to think of a good analogy, like, hey, you're a WRITER and you're publishing your book. That's great! NOW, even though you've worked for seven years in total seclusion, could you get your chair-shaped ass out of that chair, yes, stand right up, and TALK to people about it? Is that like so, you host a great TALK show or you’re a fabulous STAND-UP COMEDIAN, now could you go home and sit by yourself for a few years (or more) and WRITE about it? Or, you PAINTED a masterpiece, now get right on out there and DANCE about it? Anyone have another?

Where’s Dale Carnegie when I need him? I don’t even like to talk on the telephone. If I did, I wouldn’t be sitting by myself in my Grinch pajamas typing away, I’d be living in Mumbai as a "Customer Service" Rep for Spirit Airlines (don’t even get me started on that topic) or I’d be a Saleswoman, or maybe even Speaker of the House!

It’s not that I can’t speak in public, I just don’t want to.


1 comment:

  1. I just love hearing about other author's fear of public speaking (sorry, I need the company). So I'm telling my just signed-up publicist about this, that my plan was to grit my teeth, put my head down and charge into my first speaking engagement, get it over with and then I'm sure I'll be okay. She laughed, but I'm sure she's wondering what she's getting into.