Friday, July 8, 2011

Photo Friday: For Whom the Drum Tolls (part two)

Since it's been a week since you read part one, let me re-set the scene for you (I think I've been hanging out with screenwriters too much). I've just participated in a day's worth of meetings about my book and the Sourcebooks team has been summoned via drum, to hear me read from my book.

I start to read. I'm a robot. I try to use inflection in my voice, but I'm so stinkin' nervous. My legs are shaking. Not my hands, or my head, but my legs. If something has to shake, legs are a good choice, I think. I've only read about three pages when my mouth goes dry. I don't mean, I need a sip of water, dry. I mean my mouth is a 20-year drought. But I make it to the end of the expected reading. Yippee! Done. Now, let's go home.

But Peter then asks, "Does anyone have any questions for Karen?"

Here's my Marsha Brady moment (you know the one where she's nervous about her driver's test, so she pictures the instructor in his underwear) Well, instead of picturing my teacher in his underwear, I stop everything to admit to my human weakness aka the deletion of every bit of saliva in my mouth! I ask for a glass of water - the one I left in the conference room. I take a polite sip. Then I guzzle and even discretely swish. The questions begin; I'm asked about my dad, about writing, and about research. All questions I have answers to. I slowly realize that I'm liking this. This is fun. I mean, not to sound conceited or anything but what's more fun than talking about yourself or something you know a lot about? Just as I get to the point of wanting to say, "Hey, you guys wanna hang out tonight?", it's over.

This was officially the very first book talk I've ever done. It wasn't stellar. It wasn't even good. But I did it and it was great practice. Will I be able to do it again? Absolutely!

But a few questions remain;
1. How is it possible that stress (apparently) makes saliva dry up?
2. What causes the body to shake when we're nervous? And how does it decide which limb to torture?


Jerry Waxler said...

Don't worry about the "why," Karen. Just keep doing it. For most people, after they've been doing it for a while, these nervous responses start to fade. Congratulations on getting over an important life challenge.

Memory Writers Network

Karen Fisher-Alaniz said...

Well, I just joined Toastmasters, Jerry. I've only done one official talk but already feel more confident in my ability to speak. And thanks for the congrats! ~Karen