if i were to speak

I’m not a public speaker. I heard my husband speak once at a community gathering of “movers and shakers” in the small, eastern Washington town of Okanaga. He was starting a conversation about possibly bringing employment to some of their citizens in the form of a call center, where questions could be fielded, and reservations booked for his company. Initially fearful for him, I was soon mesmerized by my husband’s comfortable, conversational style of public speaking. He smiled easily, added small touches of humor, and to my way of thinking, knocked their socks off! He did mine, anyway.

My daughter has also taken to speaking publicly without anxiety. At the end of her ballet company‘s season, the end of April, she and 3 or 4 fellow dancers choreograph pieces, setting them on the trainees. These are dancers hoping to be hired into the company one day. Unfortunately most don’t make it, so they audition elsewhere, or go on to do other things.

It seems my daughter has emerged as the spokesperson for WIP, “Works In Progress.” On the day the pieces are performed for a non-paying audience, she gives a brief introduction about the history of the project, and the choreographers, and the pieces to be danced. Evidently my daughter’s been congratulated by the artistic staff for her eloquence, and ease of delivery.

I’m not sure if I’ve always felt tongue-tied, with a panic attack near-at-hand just before standing, or sitting, to speak before a group, large, medium, small, or tiny. I know I begin to hyperventillate, trying, in the last few moments, to memorize an entire speech which I’d not written beforehand. But, of course, I can only visualize a blank wall, staring back at me.

So if I were asked to give a fantasy speech, for example about blogging, in front of a group of professional writers, here’s how it might unfold.

I’m not as good a speaker as I am a writer. That’s not to say I’m a great writer. It just means I don’t speak as well as I write. But I’m sure I don’t write as well as you all. If I could speak like anyone, I’d like to speak like Colin Firth, not the stuttering Colin Firth, but the tongue-in-cheek Colin Firth. Know what I mean? No, of course not.

I was asked to talk about blogging. Well, I’m only a novice, having started a mere 7 months ago. I can only tell you what I know, which is not a whole hell of a lot. Oh, sorry. Excuse the language. Getting old you know, words just slipping out, just as other things are apt to do in old age. Oh, sorry, sorry. TMI. TMI. My daughter’s words, not mine. Now where was I?

Blogging! Right! Pretty mind-boggling stuff, you know. Couldn’t do it without wordpress.com. Those buggers set the whole thing up, I just “click” wherever they tell me to “click,” and voila! I’m good to go. As long as I’ve got pictures with the directions, I can get most things. But when they start throwing around techy-speak, well I’m as lost as the cow who flew over the moon and never came back.

You want to know the truth? I don’t know why the hell they asked me to talk to writers about blogging in the first place. We’re birds of a different feather. You’re all flamingos, and I’m just a Hawaiian mynah bird.

But you were real nice to listen to me jabbering away about nothing. Mahalo!

i’d say the same about you, dear reader…hugmamma.

“george, who would be king”

Enjoyed another great night at the movies with close friends Sylvia and Jim. She and I were particularly keen to see “The King’s Speech.” Sylvia was a subject during the rule of George VI and was, therefore, very excited to see the film’s portrayal of England’s beloved monarch and his queen. Revisiting her homeland by way of the vivid photography was an added bonus. I’m a devoted fan of Colin Firth who acted the part of the king. But I too wanted to see what George VI was really like, the man beneath the crown. I’d heard of his speech impediment, but wanted to learn more about it, and how such an introvert as he, dealt with the problem. Our spouses were on the fence about the film, but decided to accompany us. They were both very happy they did.

Colin Firth did not disappoint, nor did Geoffrey Rush as the king’s speech therapist, Lionel Lough. Firth’s handling of the king’s prominent stutter was excruciatingly realistic. It pained me to watch him struggle to speak. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the dilemma to form words and emit them naturally were so physically apparent. Firth’s eyes bulged and teared, beads of sweat sprung up on his forehead and beneath his squinting eyes. He seemed unable to breathe at times, the words sticking in his throat. I felt his dizziness, his nausea. I wanted to collapse alongside him, under the weight to speak publicly as the people’s sovereign, especially when he announced that England was joining the war against Hitler.

A great actor, but not necessarily a favorite of mine, Geoffrey Rush acted the role of Mr. Lough with eloquence and restraint. If you’re not well acquainted with Rush, you might remember him as Johnny Depp’s nemesis in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, Barbossa, captain of the haunted ship, the “Black Pearl.” In this role and others previous, Rush seems verbose, wordy. In “The King’s Speech,” he spoke in reaction to Firth. The part of therapist was to encourage the king to speak, a lot.

As the story unfolded, it was apparent that Lough’s value to King George VI transcended the professional. Lough became mentor, confessor, friend, and “family” to the king. They remained so, for the rest of their lives. As is so like me, I shed silent tears here and there.

How sad that George VI’s difficult childhood contributed to his stuttering. How sad that his brother abdicated with little thought to the burden he was placing upon George, who would be king. But how wonderful that he had his wife and daughters, and Lionel Lough to love and support him throughout his reign. And, of course, the overwhelming love of a grateful people.

a beautiful and touching “fairytale,” deserving of an “oscar” for all involved…hugmamma.