Today I gave a presentation at a showcase for library programs. Actually, they called it a “performance.”
I guess I am a performer. I guess we all are, when we go out each day and try to do our best. But I see what I do as presenting history and stories. I feel like performing is less real than presenting – and not as enduring.
(Admittedly, this could be a writerly word texture thing.)
I entered stage left, having been warned about the heated lights and expecting to sweat profusely. Perhaps foreknowledge helps, because I did not sweat even one drop. (A menopause miracle.)
I did what I love to do. I talked about George Washington and how incredible he was – providing details. I shared excerpts from my revolutionary work, and then spoke about my YA writing. I talked about the pursuit and realization of a dream, and my continual pursuit of answers. Why do people hurt each other? Is a timeless biggie.
People loved me. Many approached me afterward. One said, “Wow, you were amazing.”
I said, ” I love to talk.”
She said, “You do it well! That’s a natural talent.”
I assure you, public speaking does not come easily for me. When I was in high school my knees shook so violently when I approached a podium that I feared everyone would notice. Maybe they did. I was too busy trying to get the words out without fainting that I couldn’t gauge audience reaction.
But in high school, I had to give reports on things I had no interest in. Without an enticing subject, I was left to focus on me.
“It’s because I’m passionate,” I told her. “It’s because I love my subject so much that nothing else can get it the way.”
Passion. It’s not just for breakfast anymore.