Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mixed Message

As if I didn't have enough to write already this month one of the many, many other things I've been working on is a term paper for one of those classes I'm taking but always seem to avoid talking about, due earlier today. Which is fine since I can churn out a five or ten page paper in my sleep. Literally - I sleep-type now (The sad part is I'm not sure that what I write in a drowsy stupor actually suffers any drop-off in quality from what I'm writing now...in a slightly less drowsy stupor.). The catch is that the papers had to be presented. Which is about the cruelest classroom activity that a sadistic teaching body has ever devised. Basically, you have to stand in front of class, read your paper, talk about your paper, and then answer questions about it - in order to make sure it's not been plagiarized more than evoke deep-seated adolescent fears, I guess.

And, well, it might not seem like it given the length and volume I go into around here but I hate public speaking. Always have, always will. Just not what I am built for at all. Give me a keyboard or a notepad and I'll put on a dog and pony show for you but ask me to recite a few lines and it's all fumbling awkwardness. It's not like I really care about the grade here - as long as I pass and can take the next class in the sequence I'm fine and it's not like I've dropped many points so far - so I was tempted - sorely - to just throw up my hands, skip the class or at least mail it in.

But, no, if only to challenge myself, I figured I was going to do my level best. Not only write a paper that I could be proud of instead of a half-assed, last minute affair, but give the kind of presentation I could be happy with as well. It's the Frenzy spirit, the death of my inner editor and the destruction of those self-created boundaries. I might not ever be a good speaker but, you know, maybe it's thinking that I have to be an awful one that's been holding me back. So, I went up there, I stood up there, and I spoke. And I spoke and I spoke until I was all out of things to say.

And I knocked that motherfucker out of the park.

I mean, I did it stuttering and stammering my way through, dropping and creating points on the fly (Seriously, you think I get tangential here you should here me try and explain this stuff out loud. There's no copy and paste in real life.), and fidgeting and doing everything else I probably shouldn't have done if I was a real, polished, effective speaker. But I got through it. And more than just by the seat of my pants, I think at least some of the class was genuinely interested in what I had to say and that still comes as a pleasant surprise to me.

I'll hopefully get around to sharing some of those insights around here since it's exactly the kind of fascinating stuff I wish I wrote about more since it was all about the McLuhan. But we'll get around to that later, for the moment, I'm just happy to have that paper over and done with.

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