It’s a Funny Thing

Written by PJ Reece

It’s a funny thing—how at every Morningstars meeting I learn something new. Which makes me realize how little I knew in the first place.

There’s so much to learn if I intend to master the art of public speaking, which I do. I want to perfect my delivery, however long it takes.

On the other hand, I’ve heard it said that Toastmasters consider no speech “perfect.” Always room for improvement. Well, I feel better already, because after fumbling my lines (yet again!) during my talk about “The Perfect Mother” on Wednesday morning, I’ve been feeling discouraged.

The good news is that my speech was a rehearsal for the real thing next week. Thank you, Morningstars, all of you, for your evaluation slips. You appreciated the humour, which is a good thing, since my mother asked me specifically to be funny. PJsmomYou can see in the photograph taken at her 99th that she thinks birthdays are a riot.

On the other hand, I should be careful she doesn’t laugh herself to death. That wouldn’t be funny at all.

In any event, I’ll be deploying a revised version of my talk in advance of toasting my mother on her 100th birthday. Think about it— one hundred years! With the longevity gene coursing through my veins, I have decades left to hone my talents.

The problem is, I’m impatient. I want to get it right—NOW! I have dreams of making a living as a public speaker, taking my show on the road. I see myself as a TED talker—don’t you? My theories of “how fiction really works” inform the mystery of the meaning of life. TED would eat it up, don’t you think? I see book tours, radio interviews, David Letterman, Jon Stewart…

On the other hand, who needs the pressure? How easily I forget that I’m an introvert at heart.

Having said that, I realize I should develop the extrovert within me, because, you know, balance in all things, yin-yang, yada, yada, yada.

Having just said that, it occurs to me that once I’ve become a paragon of equanimity, I won’t care if I master public speaking or not. On the other hand (all these many hands are making me dizzy) once I’m speaking from my “centre,” anything I say will be meaningful. You know how some people can read the telephone book with such meaning and passion it makes you want to cry.

I’m trying too hard, that’s my problem—trying too hard to get it right instead of being vulnerable and real and in the moment. In fact, that’s the “something new” I keep relearning at Morningstars week after week. You’d think I’d learn.

Now I feel terrible for boring you with this neurotic confession. You must be wondering how I manage my debilitating indecision. As we wound our way home after last Wednesday’s meeting, Greg Lewis was wondering the same thing.

“PJ, why are you wearing just one glove?” Greg asked.

“Well, Greg,” I replied, “the weatherman said the clouds were going to clear… and on the other hand, it might rain.”

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