Are you comfortable in front of people, or does the idea of public speaking make you want to hide in the bathroom? Why?
I’m pretty good in front of a crowd. Be in a speech, presentation, or just leading a meeting, I’m comfortable and confident. I’ve also made it a point to learn how to not bore people to death.
One of the worst tools in the history of business and education is PowerPoint. There are so many presentations that I’ve sat through that consisted of nothing more than the presenter reading slides to me it’s not funny. In extreme cases, I have actually left such presentations. I can read just fine; learned how to do that early on in life. If you’re just going to turn your slides into an audiobook, I’ll get through them faster on my own.
The odd part, however, about being a lonely shut-in, is that I don’t get to actually use these skills all that much anymore. I don’t have to give presentations. My career has stagnated to the point where I’ll never have to lead another meeting in my life.
And oddly, I might be okay with that. Let the terrible presenters and boring leaders present their slides and run their meetings. I’ll just be skipping those meetings and taking a longer lunch.
Your blog is about to be recorded into an audiobook. If you could choose anyone — from your grandma to Samuel L. Jackson — to narrate your posts, who would it be?
There are a lot of good choices that can be made here.
- Roman Mars of 99 Percent Invisible fame.
- Cecil Baldwin of Welcome to Night Vale fame.
- Michael Kramer of Countless Audiobooks fame.
- One of the old standbys, such as Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones, etc.
- Something touching and nostalgic, such as my Dad, or a friend.
But honestly, I think the best choice is silence.
I’ve often lamented that the posts prior to This Thread Sucks are probably now lost for good. I don’t have the time or interest to recover them. There were some golden posts there. And the many aborted restarts have never been able to hit the consistent stride. I try, but I always end up failing.
I think something, then, is lost by translating the words on the page into words in your ear. There’s a quiet, someone seething thread that would wind through my blog posts. The old posts would start shortly after my transition to Birmingham, and continue as my life would completely unravel even as I returned to my ancestral homeland of Wisconsin. There’s joy and heartbreak there. There’s dry commentary and fiery screeds. There’s hope, failure, success, and despair.
It’s the same here on this go-around.
And I honestly think, that the only way to truly experience these words is on the page. No matter the talent or intention of the voice actor, they’re never going to be able to match what was going through my mind on that day. Which also means the blog posts aren’t as permanent as I’d once thought. They’re an ephemeral, passing thing. Once the moment they’re written passes, it’s gone, never to return. No amount of voice acting can fix that.
Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Turn that line into the title of your post.
Nope, I was wrong.
I still remember where I was when I first heard Wonderwall.
I still remember the profound effect the lyrics had on me.
I still remember the colossal idiocy of believing in a song.
Things can have a powerful effect on us. There’s an adage about symbolism in writing, in that many believe the author has no inherent use of symbolism. Rather, they have empty vessels that they fill with images, feelings, and connections. Those that are the most full become the symbols we recognize, while those with less complete contents are simply ignored amidst the towers.
Symbolism is a powerful force, indeed, but it ends up being nothing more than a water balloon: A flimsy container filled with something that easily escapes.
I still believe in the power of music.
I still believe in the power of hope.
But I’ve learned that sometimes, that balloon bursts, leaving you wet and embarrassed.
You get to choose one superpower. Pick one of these, and explain your choice:
- the ability to speak and understand any language
- the ability to travel through time
- the ability to make any two people agree with each other
I would totally pick the first option: The ability to speak and understand any language.
One of the greatest parts of traveling is to experience another place’s history, culture, food, and architecture. But there’s always that barrier of language. Sure, you can always manage to communicate in a foreign country by buying a phrase book, getting flash cards with “take me to the nearest bar,” printed in all applicable languages, or just by speaking English louder AND SLOWER. (True fact: Louder and slower is how Star Trek’s universal translator works.) But I think part of the beauty is lost if you’re not fluent in the language. Sure, you can shout English at a French girl, but being able to describe the beauty of the Eiffel Tower in its native tongue will probably be better at getting you some native tongue.
There’s also the fact that the other two superpowers are rather lackluster. Travelling through time might be interesting, but if you lack the first superpower, you’re going to find yourself at a huge disadvantage. Have you ever read the original Chaucer? No? Go try. You’ll fail. The combination of script differences and the Great Vowel Shift means you won’t be able to read and write. And that’s beyond the fact that common phrases and idioms won’t exist. So you’ll not only be completely lost, but you’ll probably be murdered for being a witch.
And who the hell wants to make people agree with each other? That’s always thrown into these prompts so that the hippies can say, “I’d pick that, and we’d have harmony.” No one really wants that. You need Trump supporters and Clinton supporters attacking each other with sledgehammers and pick axes all day long. Your life is already cripplingly mundane. Reducing the drama that surrounds it will only make it more so.