I hope each and every one of you had as lovely a day as I did, whether with friends or family or peacefully home alone.
Quick shoutout to Inspiring Max, one of my most recent followers: I always check out the blogs of new followers, and after I’d read a couple of his posts and his about page, I felt drawn to do some research into Toastmasters. Do the same, if need be. Go, explore, be free. Google things, read blog posts and speeches. Be inspired! Write posts in bed in the middle of the night because your mind is coming up with such stuff as can neither wait nor survive a quick summation with the nightstand pen-and-paper.
That was not quick. My (insincere) apologies; I’m telling you, my brain is in overdrive right now.
I read abouts and FAQs and what-have-yous at Toastmasters’ website, and I began to grow excited. This was interesting. This was something I could do. I could join; I could write speeches and speak them; I could learn and grow and enjoy this.
I’ve found my voice in the hours I’ve spent leaning on the cabinet at work, scribbling furiously on the backs of otherwise-wasted printouts of daily retail nonsense. I’ve found my voice in the hours spent in my chair at the dining room table, typing madly on magenta Harriet. I’ve found my voice in the hours I’ve spent lying in bed in the middle of the night, tapping wildly on my iPhone.
I’ve found my tone, speaking in my head when I write here. I pause, I gesture, I acknowledge the response of the crowd, I judge their (your) reception of my words. No, it’s not public speaking, but it is, in a way. I’m sure an actual public speaker would disagree with me, and yet–it feels similar.
Even the word feels–these aren’t purely emotional feelings. Some part of my brain practically seethes with the muscle memory from parts of speech, from punctuation. A semicolon is more than a pause, a breath, a conjunction: it’s an entire scene to be acted out in my mind’s eye. It’s an imaginary quick cock of an eyebrow followed by a nonexistent lean forward with a fabricated outstretched hand to grasp and pull the next phrase back from the brink of oblivion.
The phrases themselves, sometimes drawing a smirk, or a shrug, or a quick tug at the muscles of my back as my arms long to lift and spread wide as I lay this feast of words before myself, enjoying them in solitude before sending them on to you.
I don’t merely sit and write out dry words to send into the ether. I taste them, I savor them, I perform them, theatrically and passionately, for my audience of one.
And I feel silly telling you this, now, as I come down from my creative high. Thinking back without rereading, it seems a silly thing to do, to my now-more-rational mind. Or perhaps it’s just lack of sleep.
But I hope that you do it too. I hope you feel some wisp of the joy in the reading that I do in the writing, or that joy in your own writing.
I wonder: when writing speeches, is there some sort of general words-to-minutes exchange rate? How long of a speech would this be? Or is it measured in actual time during practice runs? I see I have a few things left to research. Tomorrow, during the daylight hours.
And I wonder: how much different would my voice be aloud, in front of others?
I’m lying in bed, and this feeling is lurking in my chest, waiting to burst out like an alien.
It reminds me of loss and apprehension and anxiety and fear. It reminds me of all the bad things that have ever happened. It reminds me of the monster under the bed, but inside me.
It isn’t any of these things.
It’s the opposite.
I want to laugh and jump and run and scream and have the best time ever!
I keep smiling, just a little one, not a huge grin, a toned-down little smirk, but it keeps happening and that just isn’t me.
I feel like I’ve heard a knock on my door, and when I peek out the blinds, I can see the Publishers Clearing House van and the corner of a gigantic cardboard check. Are those made out of cardboard?
I feel like I did when I won the Listserve. I feel famous and gorgeous and brilliant.
I don’t know why. I just do.
I feel like a dog getting excited over a walk. Like life itself is this simple, everyday thing that everyone else is taking for granted but my reaction is to spin in circles and squeal with joy.
I feel alive.
Not just living, alive. I can understand why the term applies to electricity.
And it’s nice.
Do regular people feel like this all the time?
I think I was doing this to myself with stress. I can be such an asshole. I will try to write about it, but I can’t make any promises.
Anyway, I woke up this morning…joyful. Now, I don’t use that word lightly, but I truly feel absolutely amazing today. I looked at Ian and I smiled. I helped my parents pack up and I was happy. I watched the cats play fighting and I got the warm fuzzies. It’s freakish.
But I am embracing it. And so I give you brown sugar cinnamon banana potato bread. That’s a mouthful, maybe I should just go with banana potato bread.
I’ve been planning to make a banana bread for weeks now, but haven’t. Today was the day, but also the day to use leftovers, hence the potato. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and it worked out well.
about 1 cup ripe banana
about 1 cup mashed potato
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
Cinnamon sugar mix for topping
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mash together bananas, potato, butter, and egg until well combined. Add remaining ingredients, mixing after each. You may need more or less flour, depending on the amount of banana and potato. It should finish slightly thicker than cake batter. Scrape out into a greased 8×4 loaf pan and tap to settle. Sprinkle about 2 tsp cinnamon sugar mixture on top, and bake 50-60 minutes, or until golden and a knife in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for ten minutes, then turn out on rack to completely cool.