Writing has gotten me to some interesting places. It’s gotten me behind a booth at a scifi convention. It’s gotten me into packed living rooms for a book club speaking engagement, and an empty hall at the library. But this time it got me behind the assistants’ desk at a Dale Carnegie class.
I took a twelve week course from the Carnegie folks last year, even got elected class president. I know from previous experience that keeping classes going forward after they end is part of the trick. It’s too easy for people to fade into the woodwork. My idea (outside of a couple of potlucks) was to provide an email Gazette (once a month). I can turn it out pretty quick. Since I call for articles and news from my former classmates, space fills pretty handily. I’ve put out something like eight of them now. It’s fun.
So last week, I got an email from my former instructor, Dr. Beverly Pennacchini, asking if I’d like to come in and speak to a graduating class, telling them about the newsletter. It sounded like fun so I agreed.
Thus I found myself back to my old school efforts, practicing my speech in my tiny garage late into the evening, getting it polished. I figure if people are going to give you the courtesy of listening, you can try to prepare.
Anyway, the speech was just like a short story. Had the hook (getting up and greeting them all to their first night at Dale Carnegie (not their graduation, as was the case)). I counted on someone interrupting to correct me and of course someone did.
And that’s the writer’s trick, not going straight from point A to B but rather doubling back. Smiling and pacing my ground (injecting a little action into my dialog) I told them no, everything they’d done until now was just the course prerequisite, the summer reading list, the registration. The real course started outside when they left, and would run from now until forever. And this cut neatly around to how they wouldn’t have their classmates, that they would face it alone.
Or would they?
That segued to the gazette, nice and sharp.
And that’s the writers’ mind, boys and girls. Be a writer in everything you do, from your writing to your speeches to your actions. If a writer can make the story of a man marooned on a deserted island interesting, he can make a speech about a newsletter interesting, too.
Oh, and yes, I plugged my books. I am a writer, after all.
But it was a lot of fun. I got to meet the new class, listen to their speeches and pick up some of the raw power of the course (graduation night, it crackles like electricity). I even got to sit in the back and help with the administration which was fun in itself.
Yes, it’s great to be a part of this.
And the gazette’s distribution just increased 25%. What writer wouldn’t like that?