Mike Bevel (britadventuress) wrote,
Mike Bevel

I'm Imagining You in Your Underwear (and it's not helping)

Back in January, I gave a "lecture" on the Victorian novel at the Bethesda library. I wrote everything out, I had about an hour's worth of material, I had clean pants, and I forgot how terrible I am at public speaking.

Because I am terrible at public speaking.

For one thing, I don't know how to prepare. I thought I was in the clear, just writing the whole thing out. I wrote in pauses. I wrote in witty asides. I couldn't see how this couldn't be a speech-writer's speech. I read it aloud two or three times (don't believe Zach when he tries to add "hundred" to the "two or three" -- he hates being read to, and so magnifies each episode), sure, and even double-spaced my copy for easier reading. Nothing, I thought, could go terribly wrong.

"I can't believe you memorized your whole speech," one of the ladies said to me right before I was to take the podium. "I...what?" I asked. Because I hadn't. Memorized. It never occurred to me to memorize. "Was I supposed to memorize this?" I whispered to Zach.

"You oversold these desserts. Doesn't anyone bake anything anymore?"

"You've been a big help."

So, with my speech unmemorized, I took to the podium and proceeded to lose about 25 pounds in water weight as I sweated through the most uncomfortable 40 minutes I've ever spent conscious. I stammered. I raced through my planned pauses. I stumbled over my witty asides. At one point, I seriously considered faking a seizure.

I mention all of this because it's likely I'll be doing this again. A lecture. In January. Because I don't learn at all from past experience, and because I still stupidly believe in getting back on some metaphorical horse when I actually don't even like horses, truth be told, because they're big and move unexpectedly and I don't think they've ever actually given informed consent to be ridden and with my luck I'll end up on the Norma Rae of horses and all of a sudden we're no longer really talking about my speech, are we. Not even metaphorically. We've delved into my fear of large mammals.


This lecture, which I'll need to write out (only not completely out -- because that was a Lesson Learned from last time. I wrote the whole thing out, and then read directly from the sheet, and it was awful. However, at several points, I spoke ex cathedra if you will, and those spontaneous diversions from the script sounded MUCH better than the pre-written stuff. I work best with notes, it turns out, and extemporaneously*), will be on women in the nineteenth century, since the 2010 series of books to discuss is titled "Women and Other Difficult Topics." I'll also cover the list of books, and give a reason for each choice. I don't have a date set; however, it will be some time in early January.

[* So, it's my freshman year at Southern Oregon State College and I'm in a Small Group Communications class. Our final project is to find some sort of worthwhile endeavor and "present" it to the class as if we're presenting it to a city council. My group picks Preventing Teen Pregnancy. There are five or six of us in the small group. Each of us takes on a task. This one guy says, "I'll be the speaker. I did great at extemporaneous speaking. This is totally my thing. We're guaranteed an A."

Here's how he opened his extemporaneous speech: "Oh yes we've got trouble. Right here in Ashland City. And that starts with a T and it rhymes with P and that stands for Pregnancy."

Dudes, seriously. And we didn't get an A.]

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