Talks: writing, BDMLR, ME/CFS

I have agreed to do a couple of talks – as you know, I’ve done talks in the past for libraries, readers groups and even launched the Gateshead Libraries Short Story competition a few years ago, but they do make me nervous. This is for a number of reasons:

* The ME/CFS means that I rarely socialise and certainly don’t speak to many new people – I worry that they will think I’m stupid if I can’t get what I want to say out straight away or lose my train of thought (brain fog, urgh) or that I will be ill and need to cancel (I hate to let people down)

* I sometimes feel a bit of a fraud, as I’m by no means an expert on any topic that I’m asked to talk about.

* I worry I will be boring, having lost the art of conversation – I probably converse with less than 20 people per year.

Yesterday, I did a talk on BDMLR (British Divers Marine Life Rescue) – I have been a member (and trained medic) for six years now, and feel like the world’s worst volunteer as I’m obviously incapable of attending rescues, given my limitations. This is why I don’t turn down an opportunity to raise awareness about the charity. I was fairly prepared for the talk, having had to write it twice after my laptop crashed, but hated having to constantly refer to notes (when I’m tired, I have a mind like a sieve). I felt that I was boring and repetitive, but the ladies and gentleman I spoke to were very kind (too kind, I suspect). I have agreed to return to talk about hand massage (a subject far more familiar to me, given my love of massage).

I am also due to attend a local sixth form college, where I will discuss writing, BDMLR and ME/CFS – I’m a little nervous about the distance, but keen to speak to the young people. I am impressed that the college want speakers who cover such a diverse range of topics: all we got was armed forces, law and civil service – I can’t say a career in the creative arts was encouraged! In fact, I had to fight to be able to study Art at A-level, as it clashed with the twice-weekly RE lesson – even then, I could only go ahead if I studied History Of Art as well, as Art alone wasn’t academic enough. I opted to do Psychology on an evening, as it was never an option at my school. I am sure the students will be a lot better behaved than we were…hopefully!

‘Holly’ is far better with public speaking than I am – perhaps it’s because being Holly is almost like an acting role? I hope that I am at least a little informative and entertaining, but fear that I will be like the lawyer who visited our school and was remembered only for his mis-pronunciation of the word ‘kebab’ as ‘kebob’…