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?