My fifteen minutes

Literary luminaries at Nanaimo District Museum and fifteen minutes delivering what should have been a ten minute set piece to an audience. Five minutes about the Stars Trilogy, plus a five minute reading. One or two people picked up my books and checked out the promotional signs I’d made. “It’s well written.” One browsing reader commented. Sadly they did not buy. At 11:45, my turn came to speak.

One of my (many) shortcomings is public speaking. I make all the classic mistakes. I ramble and digress. I don’t keep to the script. I’m too busy reading my notes to give the audience my time and eye contact. I forget key information. In short, I’m happier behind a keyboard than in front of potential customers. No matter how polite and complimentary they are towards the end.

Having taken professional acting training I should be a whole lot better, but I’m not. I’ve picked up a stammer from somewhere. Now where in the tenth circle of hell did that come from? I’m sure I never used to stutter. Maybe it’s because I’m presenting my own work.

Again; this is odd. Acting, and especially comic improvisation used to be one of my strong points. Loved every second. Smooth as greased glass without a verbal tic in sight. Throw me a line or a gesture and I was away like a dog after a stick. Well, maybe not my dog, Amos. He sees me throw a stick for him to chase and he lies down with his tongue hanging out and gives me a funny look, as if to say “But you threw it away. Now you want me to get it? Jeez, Boss!”

One of the things I liked about the event was getting to talk to some of the other authors. I was the only sci-fi writer there, my neighbour Historical fiction writer Kenn Joubert and his wife Fern were on the next table but one, and spent a good deal of time speaking to Mary Ann Moore, a poet and writer from Gabriola Island.

Not many potential buyers, but it was good to see Jordan, Aimee and Amy of the Museum staff. I’m very fond of all the crew there. Although now I’m doing more shifts at my day job, I don’t get to volunteer as much as I used to. I miss that about Tuesdays, but most of the big display changes are done, and Jordan and Rick take care of most of those. On the run up to Christmas, I often felt I wasn’t really contributing any more.

Perhaps if the writing paid a bit better, I’d probably volunteer more. I’d also like to go to one or two of the Science Fiction conventions to hawk my wares. Just for the opportunity to rub shoulders with some more experienced authors like Niven and Bova. One can dream.