The story tellers that went before me were excellent. One talked about being unable to start a fire in a cold cabin then the next day falling through the ice. The second person talked about being on the Ruth Glacier with six other individuals and the hardships they endured. I came next. I had Pete assist me in putting his bicycle (it was supposed to be my bicycle but I didn’t have any racks) on the raised stage. This way, I could introduce him.
The theme was survival, which was perfect for a cold, windy winter evening. I realized after hearing the first two speakers that I was out of my league. I simply didn’t have a story with enough hardship in it. It’s excruciating knowing that you are following two above average speakers with good stories and that you are an average speaker with a not-so-good story. Oh oh. I went up on that stage knowing I was screwed. But the audience members, many of whom I knew, they were polite and laughed and clapped at the right times. I appreciated that.
Pat C, who is the President of the Board of the Palmer Museum, and who organized the rehearsals, made it a point of saying that they were a “bonding” experience for the participants. So I didn’t get to bond with anyone. I freely concede that this was my loss. If I had bonded and shared my story with them beforehand, it would have been a told untold story.
So the question is, would I have done better if I’d found a way to get to the rehearsals? The answer, as it always is in such instances, was yes and no. Yes, I most definitely would have had a better sense of timing, and in addition I would have known what details to leave in and which ones to take out. And perhaps I would have been told that it wasn’t enough of a survivor story. And it wasn’t. No one was close to being in any kind of danger.
And no, I just had this feeling all along that had I rehearsed this particular story too many times that I would have killed it. Maybe this was because I had to go back and forth in time, in unexpected places, and this may have made the story. Once you know a story really well, there is no need for improvisation.
So, I made myself really small after my talk so that no one would notice me – and no one did. That’s the beauty of being 5”2.
The theme of the next Untold Story will be road trips. I will submit although I suspect that the Palmer Inner Circle will be taking those who have never before told an Untold Story – and I have to admit that is the fair thing to do.
Next: 29. 1/29/18: The horse Life: Toolie Bashing Tyra