Thursday, July 11, 2013

Talk, talk, talk

I've been working a lot with words lately. Real words, not free pieced letters. Words on paper. Words in the air.

You see, I've been working on my speech for St Louis in October, and I'm struggling. I have a finite number of minutes to tell my story, and I'm working to fit everything in. That means I have to omit a lot of facts and details. That's no problem, I can do that.

I got the first draft finished last night, and after reading it aloud, I'm well within my time frame, but the speech sounds rushed, which I don't want.

I just wrote the first draft of a book, and now I am telling the same story aloud. What's really interesting is the writing is different for each.

For the book, I can take my time, but I need complete sentences and correct grammar. I need to make sure the reader knows who said what. I have to set a stage and a mood. I have to explain everything without sounding like a news reporter.

For the talk, I can't waste words or time, but I can use sentence fragments. I can use my tone of voice, my gestures, my facial expression and posture, and even silence to make a point. Those things aren't "writing" and yet they are.

When I'm writing to be read, I can tell when it's flowing right along; when I'm "cooking with gas."

When I'm writing to talk, I can't really tell yet.

When I'm telling the story in my head, as I'm driving or doing dishes or taking a shower, I know when I get it right. I just have to remember how I said it so I can write it down later (that rarely happens.)

I know I've got a good story and I know what elements I want to include and what points I want to make. I know the story will connect with the audience on several levels.

Telling the story is different from writing the story. It's another piece of the creative puzzle. I know I'll work it out. I have a lot of experience in creating, and I know how the process works. I've done it enough times that I have faith in my skills and my process, that I will find the right way to tell the story.

It's no different than any other creative activity. You start. You stop. You erase. You start over. You work. You struggle. You worry. You erase. You do something different. You keep working, keep refining, keep editing, keep thinking, keep trying something else, because the ultimate goal is to make this perfect shining thing that stands on it's own and can be instantly understood by whoever takes the time to look, listen, or read it.

Because when they "get it" it's the most magical thing ever.

And damn! I love making art, but when it's good, and you make that emotional connection with your viewer / reader / listener, it's MAGIC!

THAT, my friends, is reason enough to rip it out if it isn't working.

Please excuse me while I wrestle with words and not fabric for a few more days.


Jean said...

I have that same struggle. I know what I want to say, but take many tries to get it written down and still don't think it's very good. Good luck with your presentation!

Anonymous said...

I bet if you asked, there are lots of people who are around you who would listen to your speech and help. Especially those who won't be able to be there for the event.

Alice Turcotte said...

You do have a way with words.

Quiltdivajulie said...

You are SO right about it being part of the process . . . your listeners will thank you for all this effort!!

Judy in Michigan said...

Did you know that there is a Menagerie Island in Lake Superior? It has a lighthouse on it. Google Menagerie Island lighthouse and see your namesake. Good luck with your words - I do not like writing but I'm good at speaking - but not with a time limit!!

Quilter Kathy said...

So many interesting things to think about in this post!
You are a great writer, that's for sure!