Friday, February 28, 2014

The Travel Talk

One week from tonight I will be doing a presentation at Glenhyrst Art Gallery on The Found Vagabond as part of an event called "The Big Literary Night Out"  This is one of a series of events at the gallery which usually features artists discussing their works, but this one is all about books and the writing process.  I am very much looking forward to hearing the presentations from the other authors - Jack Jackowetz, Zig Misiak, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, though I am already quite envious of them as they all seem to have way cooler names than me.

I have been thinking about the presentation for a couple of weeks and have a draft one partially done, but I've been struggling with what angle to take for the talk.  It is only about 15 minutes long so whatever I present will have to be crisp, concise and very focused as 15 minutes goes by very quickly.  Unless, of course, you realize partway through your speech that your zipper is open, a large booger is stuck to your cheek, and there is a guy in the crowd who loaned you twenty bucks last year and you forgot to pay him back.  Then time slows to a crawl.

One thing I've learned in Toasmasters is to first think of who your audience will be and what material would be of most interest to them.  I'm expecting the crowd to be generally middle aged (I hate saying that term as more and more I'm realizing I've slid into that category), well-off, and some will have traveled extensively.  So I began by pulling out my book and looking at the table of contents to see where I should focus my talk.  Should I tell one of my travel stories?  Should I show a bunch of cool travel pictures?  Should I talk about how great travel is and why everybody should do it?  Should I go Facebook-style and brag about how many countries I've been to?  Should I focus on the spiritual aspect of travel and how meeting special people along the way can really change your life?  Some of the attendees will probably have kids in high school or college so maybe I should talk about encouraging young people to travel and considering working in another country?

As a person who was not born and bred in southern Ontario, one thing I know for sure is that people who were born here often fail to appreciate what an amazing part of the country this is and how lucky we are to have so many local opportunities for local travel.  In one part of the book I talk about the "American Style Power Weekend" where you take a weekend and pledge to make every second count.  From here, it's possible to make a weekend trip to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Toledo, and if you really want to go for it, how about New York City, Washington or Chicago?  Or how about any of the thousands of cool small towns and villages that decorate the landscape?  What about a tour of the lakes - we are within an hour of so of three of the great lakes - Erie, Huron and Ontario, and each of them have towns and cities where you would swear you were on the ocean (though this year the "ocean" in question would be the Arctic).

So we will see where I get to by next Friday.  As usual, I have my lovely and talented wife helping me out with formatting the presentation as she always has great ideas and can spot my terrible ones!

I 'm hoping the excellent press I've received for the book locally will help bring people out to the event, here are links to a couple of those:

Article in The Paris Star
Inside Brant television interview
Brant News - article just came out today, not online yet

Oh, one more thing.  The Glenhyrst event next week has free wine and cheese from the Tipperary Bog.  'Nuff said.

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