Saturday, September 3, 2011

Public speaking, nocturnally

I had to lecture to a packed house. Oddly, given the size of the group, I wasn't nervous at all. The only problem was, I had no topic, which meant I'd have to wing it. The audience had been waiting a long time.

"I'm sorry to disappoint you," I said. "But I'm ready to speak."

They laughed. Oh good, I thought, they like me.

"Today we'll discuss German Expressionism."

Now, this was a real problem, because I didn't know anything about German Expressionism; I didn't even know if there was such a thing as German Expressionism. Fortunately, the audience didn't know either.

So mainly my lecture consisted of saying GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM frequently and loudly.

"Interestingly enough..." I said, and stopped to think that whatever follows interestingly enough is never interesting at all.

"Interestingly enough," I continued, "in GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM characters are lit from within but also defined from without through the use of negative space. Now let me explain negative space."

Chairs squeaked, people started talking, getting up and leaving in droves. I knew I needed to do something, fast.

"That's all," I said. "Thank you for coming."

There was applause from the few who remained.

29 comments:

  1. Lit from within, negative space .... so funny! You'd make a great artist. This is the kind of thing I see written next to paintings in art galleries, explaining in peculiar sentences what we're supposed to see in the squiggles or blobs. It's a different language to me and I think young artists spend years at art school learning it. Or maybe they make it up in their sleep?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like Bugge Expressionism. It makes me laugh.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Same thing happened to me when I tried to wing it on Quantum Physics, String Theory and Quasars.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I find it helps to say what I don't know as loudly as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Have you considered birdwatching, it’s all about passion, you know.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I read this twice and laughed out loud both times. You're even brilliant and funny in your dreams!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I dream I have to give speeches, too, but I'm never this funny and I'm usually missing my clothing. And still, no one pays attention.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would have stayed. And applauded. {Then gone for a G&T.}

    ReplyDelete
  9. My dearly beloved can stand up and give a speech off the cuff at any time. I can't. Glad you found the way to get through it succinctly.

    ReplyDelete
  10. If you ever actually have to speak in front of an audience, just read this aloud as the opener and as soon as you say German Expressionism in a really loud voice you'll have them in your pocket for the rest of the evening. Classic.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sounds like one of my nightmares.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Birdman, I think you nailed it.

    Oh, how this resonates with me. I have to give a presentation on Wednesday on the novel All Quiet On The Western Front. Mental note: use "resonates".

    Bellis, a class in Art / Photography, also, using B & W film. That's right, a 40 year old Canon FTb, and do my own developing. I have to write an "Artists Statement". Funny you should mention sleep.

    PA, I hate that when that happens . . .

    Petrea; you, too?

    Shit! No help from the wv.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was thinking about winging the wedding reception speech coming up for my high school best friend...but yeah, I think I'm going to write it all down. haha.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Kaori, feel free to borrow GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM.

    Bandit, let us know how the presentation goes.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Here's a link:

    http://lifeboatinthedesert.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yes, write it down. Then practice it until you know it by heart. Then be sure and take the paper with you because when you get in front of people you'll forget most of it.

    ReplyDelete
  17. How did you get yourself into this position?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Holy crap! This reminds me I have a final at Cal Berkeley tomorrow and I'm not prepared!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I suppose this is amusing to those with a penchant for chaos. My dreams, however, are entirely rational and well lit.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Some stayed to the end. Some would call that success. Fine morning chuckles. Macht nichts.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Our well-tuned Banjo.

    Earl, I will never shed a panic dream where I've finished all my finals and about to graduate when I realize I forgot to ever attend this one class.

    LH: Wie gehts!

    ReplyDelete
  22. The Cal Berkeley Exam dream was one of those that was so real that I woke up feeling scared, then relieved that it must have been a dream!

    Seems that unprepared public speaking and final exams are frequent dreams. Some people dream of mansions and big Rolls Royces, others dream of being prepared!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think your idea of shouting "GERMAN XPRESSIONISM!!" in a hall may be better than the old "Fire!" for emptying a place.

    This was one of your more practical posts. Thks.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I dreamed recently that Will Ferrell was my daughter's Girl Scout leader. It was very stressful. I felt like I had so much to explain. He did not seem happy.

    ReplyDelete
  25. German Expressionism? Achtung minen! You are one brave lass for embarking on such an intrepid endeavor...

    ReplyDelete
  26. Even if I wrote my dreams down, they wouldn't be this funneh...nope, not even close.

    ReplyDelete
  27. But have you ever dreamt about your friends in high school cutting off their heads for a Biology experiment??? The trick was you didn't know who's head you would grow back...(we had been studying the segmentation of worms and how they grow themselves back when cut up!) I convinced Mr Rike (the very good looking Bio teacher) to let me cut off my hand instead of my head...True dream...dreamt just before graduation...

    ReplyDelete