Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Meaning Of Courage

Yesterday, I sold and signed Southern Fried Women as a guest speaker (one of the headliners) at the Healthy Living Expo located in the MC Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem. An event sponsored by the Winston-Salem Journal, the place was packed by 9 a.m. Well run, this event had folks lined up at booths all up and down the massive auditorium getting their blood pressure checked, tasting free food samples, and discussing their health with one expert after another. My contact with the Winston-Salem Journal, Cheryl Nelson, was top-notch. She was on top of it all and made the event pleasant and easy for the speakers. What a cool head.

I was there ... as a draw. (They said.) And ... I think I drew a nice sized crowed ... at least a few of the folks admitted they came to hear me speak and get a signed copy of the book. (Certainly not as big as draw as ABC's Biggest Losers, who appeared on stage after me.) But, it made me feel good, at least, to see folks gather in the seats to hear me speak. My humorous feel-good speech reminded a few that there's medicine in laughter. I was introduced by a "celebrity" from WFMY who was totally in love with herself and didn't give a rat's behind about giving me a halfway decent introduction. Of course, she'd tell you she wasn't "aware" she was supposed to introduce me. It seems to me if this chick does this kind of stuff for a living, you'd think she'd know how to pick something up at the last minute and run with it. I was totally embarrassed by her. I would've rather had no introduction at all. Okay, enough. I guess I've got this radar for hoity-toity. Sometimes I wish I could turn it off.

Anyway, TV cameras recorded the event and I spoke to a crowd of 70 seated or so, as the rest of the crowd milled up and down the isles. It's extremely difficult to speak to a group like that. It reminded me of The Southern Women's Shows. You don't have a totally captive audience, but I loved the response afterward. Folks lined up for the book. Who knew?

I often wish all I had to do was sit and write. That's what I love to do most. But I know God has given me the gift of speech, and I do know how to do it effectively. So two to three times a week, I'm out there, delivering my soul to the public. Sometimes you feel the love. And sometimes, you don't. But folks are generally kind and that means a lot as you walk in uncharted territory.

I've heard it said (somewhere) that ... to write is a revolutionary act. The nerve to document and publish your views is the meaning of COURAGE. But I think there's something missing in that statement. Although I wholeheartedly agree with it, the missing piece is ... the nerve to document and publish your views is the meaning of COURAGE, and to include yourself as a speaker is beyond courage, it's reckless audacity to put yourself in the line of fire.

Through this entire process, I have danced to the beat of my own music. At the risk of sounding corny, it's a fire in me that I ... simply can't put out. Where this innate drive comes from, sometimes I wish I knew. But when I get in front of people, I feel at home. Always a little nervous, but I feel it's where I'm supposed to be. Talking about my writing. I still wish all I had to do was sit at home and write ... but that's the easy way out for me. I've never taken that road. Something or somebody won't let me.

Blessings to you and yours.

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