Kindred Spirits and Public Speaking

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I want you and me to be friends.

I'm NOT talking about Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Klout or any of the other social spaces. You don't need to subscribe to my blog, you don't need to leave me comments, you don't need to bestow an award on me. I just want you and me to become (better) friends.

Of course, that means we really need to get to know each other. So each week I candidly share stuff about myself. And if you'd like for me to get to know you better, I invite you to share along with me. You don't have to be a blogger to participate and even if we're already good friends, I hope you'll still share with me.

Early 1800s Farm House Kitchen

When I was a kid,
I really, really, REALLY wanted to live in 1800's on a farm, just like Gilbert Wilder from the Little House on the Prairie series. I would spend hours pretending I didn't have electricity or running water - or that my chores including milking the cows and ploughing fields. In my very active imaginary world, Gilbert's chores were far superior to my own of cleaning the bathroom, sweeping the kitchen, and weeding the garden.

When I grow up,
I don't want to write the great American novel or some literary masterpiece that will be assigned reading for English majors. My ambitions are far greater - I want to write a sweeping adventure series with delightfully complex characters and tightly interwoven plots that build and build to an epic conclusion. Kind of like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rights - only without wizards and spells. Or pointy hats and wands.
Harry Potter Series Bookes

I used to love
  • House (TV series)
  • Smell of gasoline
  • Sun-bathing
  • A&F sweat pants
House M.D.

I still love
  • Harry Potter (novels)
  • CorningWare coffee pot
  • Charred marshmallows
  • Pink sunsets
CorningWare Coffee Pot

There's one thing you should know about me,
I like performing in front of an audience. Although, I only enjoy it if I've had plenty of time to rehearse, memorize my lines, and loosen up in advance. As part of my home school education program, I had to give a public speech or performance in front of a audience (not my family) during each of my four high school years. During my senior year, I wrote a comedy skit for my sister and I about a crotchety old married couple swapping barbs about their relationship. The skit was complete with music cues, sound effects, and props. We rehearsed and memorized and rehearsed and memorized - and finally performed the skit at a Valentine's Day church function. I still remember the thrill of performing to real laughter and applause - and mild shock that we had managed to pull off the skit...
Champaigne Toasting Glasses

So tell me...
What kinds of chores did you have to do as a kid? And do you prefer stand-alone self-contained novels or multi-book series? Have you ever performed for an audience and if so, did you enjoy the thrill?

If you do not feel comfortable posting your answers in a comment but would still like to share something about yourself, feel free to email me or direct message me on Twitter. And if there's a specific question you'd like me to answer next time, just let me know.


  1. I have only recently subscribed to your blog. I'm a bloke. I live in Australia. I am 60 years old. I have discovered food in the last 5 years. I now love to cook. I'm ok at it but really want to be of chef - nope - absobloodylutely brilliant chef capability. I now subscribe to so many cooking blogs that I cant keep up with reading them. So, let me answer your questions.
    I did no chores as a kid. I was a kid and my parents did stuff that didn't even remotely interest me. I didn't realise what they did until I had my own home and then my family. Being a kid was tough but wonderfully wistful too.
    I don't read novels now. Life's too short for me to become trapped in a fantasy. I do read though. I read history, I read technical journals, I read law, I read factual stuff by the mountain load.
    I love an audience. In my youth I was a musician/vocalist in a folk group. In Adelaide (my town) we worked 3 nights a week. I loved it. I got to work with some big names and had fun with some big names too. Jammed with Queen, spoke with Paul McCartney, played didgeridoo with Rolf Harris, performed on TV and so on. Loved it and I still love an audience, even if it is in the supermarket or wherever I can capture someone for a moment or 2

  2. When I was a teenager, I used to sing at church. Eventually, I entered contests (and won) and branched out to weddings and funerals. At that time in my life, I wanted to be a professional singer.

  3. Thanks for dropping by and welcome to my blog - I'm so pleased you enjoyed it enough to subscribe. I'm also subscribed to a crazy number of blogs and I completely understand the impossibility of staying current with all of them... It's a never-ending challenge...

    No chores! As a child, I would have been so jealous! And I really enjoy novels, but sadly don't really make much time for reading them anymore. And when I'm working on fiction of my own, I really try not to read much of anyone else's fiction as it has a way of bleeding back into my own ;)

    And it sounds like you had a LOT of performance exposure - I've enjoyed the little bit I've had, although I don't think I'd enjoy making a living performing. It's nice to be able to escape into quiet privacy... Thanks so much for sharing with me...

  4. Thanks so much for sharing, CJ. And wow, a professional singer! I used to enjoy singing at church but I was never good enough to even think about a career in it. I didn't even like singing in front of others as part of a choir... ;)

  5. Excellent timing today - I just gave a talk on Relaxation and going back this evening to give it to a different group of students in a local tech college. It is a new experience for me and the first time I've talked to people using power point for an hour. It went amazingly well - I had prepared myself well but not to the point it is a memorized talk. Anyway - loved doing it and I could see myself doing more of this - but I'm the only one holding myself back.

    Hey I love "burnt marshmallows on an open fire, but don't really like the smell of gasoline...ewwwww!

  6. mjskit @ mjskitchen.comSeptember 12, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Darlin - you were obviously born in the wrong time period! I love the conveniences of the 20th and 21st centuries! As I kid I had to do the dishes with my sisters after every meal, empty trash cans and do the ironing for a family of 7! And Bobby wonders why I hate ironing. I like both stand-alones and multi-book series. As a classroom instructor I performed many times a day! :) A teacher always has to perform to keep the students interesting. It doesn't have to be a performance in front of the class, most of the time it was a interactive performance trying to keep everyone engaged. Oh and BTW - if you ever need an old married couple to really swap barbs, Bobby and I are good at it already. :)

  7. Yeah, I'm not such a big fan of the smell of gasoline any more, but when I was a kid/teen, for some reason I really liked the smell. Especially right after filling up the lawn mower. Maybe it had something to do with fresh cut grass... I think memorization for me is kind of a crutch when I have to present or speak publicly. Once I started doing more presentations for my last job, I got pretty comfortable with "winging it" and could forgo the memorization. But when I was younger, I would memorize anything just to be sure I wouldn't "fail"...

  8. lol I'd love to meet you and Bobby some day and I actually think trading barbs is very healthy ;) If you've ever seen Everybody Loves Raymond, I laugh the hardest when Marie and Frank trade barbs... And ironing for 7! Ouch! I HATE ironing and rarely iron anything if I can help it. I think the last time I ironed something was for my Mom's wedding and I'm hoping there won't be another of those for quite some time ;) I did have to do dishes after every meal with my sisters because my parents didn't like automatic dishwashers, so I can empathize... And I'd imagine keeping students engaged would be very challenging. Especially considering how I know I was as a student. Yeah...

  9. There are a few types of people, and two of them are: those who can do public speaking well and love performing in front of people and those who shrink into raisins like myself and refuse to leave their houses. You seem to be of the former! Good for you, public speaking is rough. I took some training for public speaking in Boston MA this past year and while I am still not super confident, I am better at public speaking. Thanks for the post!


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