As you may have spotted, I like to think of myself as a writer, and given that this is post number 420 on this blog, and I’ve written on lots of other websites and for a series of Bible reading notes, I think I’m beginning to believe that it might be true.
I like words. I enjoy committing them to paper (or screen), and I find that writing enables me to process my thoughts and assemble them into some kind of (usually) coherent form.
I’m also an editor – I enjoy taking what others have written and making it stronger, sharper, better punctuated…
I have never had any desire to be a speaker. I’m not good at expressing myself verbally, and I don’t enjoy being in front of an audience – I blush, I speak too quickly, I wave my arms about… It’s just embarrassing. And who would want to listen to what I say anyway? At least if you’re reading something and you get bored and wander off, I’ll never know – I hate the thought that in an audience you might be stuck in your seat, forced to look like you’re paying attention out of sheer politeness, wishing you were somewhere – anywhere – but here, listening to me.
Unfortunately, if you write, and if people like what you write, they ask you to talk about it. And if you’ve got enough ego to be pleased by that request – and if you’re trying to follow God’s leading and walk through the doors he opens in front of you – sooner or later you find yourself on a stage.
Thus it was that this summer I found myself boarding a train down to Exeter and speaking at an event called Westpoint.
It was only a seminar, on writing, and I shared the stage with a pastor and writer (a real, live writer, with actual books with his name on the cover and everything!) called Phil Moore, but it was me. On stage. With a mic. Speaking my thoughts and (the most terrifying part) answering people’s questions.
I don’t know how I did, how I sounded, whether anything I said made sense, but if you want to find out, you can, as the recording has now gone online.
Thanks to the prayers and encouragement of my family and some very good friends, I actually wasn’t too nervous and (whisper it) sort of enjoyed it (you don’t know how hard it is to admit that to myself, let alone to you!!). I’m not saying I’m seeking more opportunities, but if they seek me out (like the radio interview I’ve just been invited to do next week (!!!)), I’ll take them, and try not to kick up too much of a fuss about it.
It’s bizarre. I don’t understand how this is my life, but it appears it is. I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the ride!
Picture Credit: Colin Lavery Photography