Okay, it has been a few days since my last post, and there is probably a good reason for that. Lately my headspace has been all chaotic with different things going on at home and in my professional life, so I have opted not to post anything new until I had something to actually say…
So with this new topic I guess that means I do have something new and interesting going on!
Last week was a busy week for yours truly with a radio interview on the Saturday with my friend Kim Smith; Then on Monday I was at the Theatre, then later in the week I met with my good friend Mikhail Sedyshev, who introduced me to the sport of Rope Cutting. Now as simple as this sounds, it is quite the opposite. For one, you have a bundle of ropes tied together – often it is a bunch of 4 or more ropes tied together – and second, you have to successfully sever the rope in one swing. Okay, easy you think? Yeah right! Did I forget to mention that the rope hangs freely! Not as easy as it seems, but quite interesting to watch!
Okay, so I did try my hand at this sport, and I found out that although the concept is the same as chopping down a tree with an axe, the result is not quite the same… At least it wasn’t for me. Oh well, they do say that practise makes perfect!
Right, getting back to the post topic… Public Speaking!
As I mentioned in a previous post, I often get chills (and not in a good way) at the thought of public speaking. Even as I am writing this, my head is spinning with the new challenge I face for myself… Speaking to a mass audience in a stadium. Yes, little ol’ writer me will be delivering a speech at the Mayak Stadium in Samara this coming Tuesday evening.
Now as exciting as that be for all extroverts, I am not quite in the class of artists who lives for the limelight. Infact, I once heard that writers are quite the reclusive mob, preferring to glow in the radiance of their famousosity by themselves or with those closest to them… I think that much is true, but I also think that in order to grow, we are allowed to face certain obstacles in life.
As I write this, I am reminded of one of the great men of history who also loathed public speaking. Now if you are thinking of Michael Jackson, then you are wrong (although he is one of the reclusive types – and strange). No, the person I am talking about is the biblical hero, Moses.
If you dont mind me sounding off hear for a minute, let me explain what I mean.
Moses, the once former heir of the throne of Egypt, and the leader of the Hebrew nation. We all know who he was. After all, I am sure many of you have heard about him through the teachings in Sunday School or learned a little about him through Charlton Heston portrayal of him in the Cecil B. DeMille‘s 1956 classic The Ten Commandments. As great as Moses was, he was terrified of public speaking.
When Moses was met by the vision of God at the burning bush, he said to God, “How can I speak to these people as I am a man who is slow of speech” and slow of tongue“. Moses was terrified of speaking to masses.. Hmmm That is probably why he had Aaron.
Okay, so I dont have an Aaron like he did. But I have an Anna! (Even better!)
It is times like this that I am grateful for having a wife who stands by my side.. and will be standing by my side on Tuesday evening to translate to the audience the fantastical speech that will really move the audience, and by that I mean they will leave, and for a moment I will hear the sounds of crickets… Then silence as they will leave too.. Leaving me to stand on an empty stage, applauding myself. Good Grief. Okay, that lightheartedness makes me feel better. I just love to ramble sometimes! 🙂
Coming up this week:
I catch up with Brian at The New Author on the 15th through to the 17th.
On the 18th I interview my good friend Kim Smith, author of Avenging Angel. Catch that interview on this website!
And of course, if you live in Samara, you can see me live on Tuesday evening at the Mayak Stadium, Samara.
Have a good week everyone!
Winter is approaching, and what better way to spend the day by going downtown and get in some last minute window shopping before the snow sets in….
Anna and I started our day by taking our first stop at McDonalds. Of course, as this is the most popular restaurant in town (probably because they dont serve portions of food by the gram), we had a wait a little while before we got out order and found a place to sit. Lunch was nothing spectacular, but hey, this is McDonalds and as we all know, Maccas is home of the famous “Lard Burgers”. Really, their slogan should be “Over 1 Billion Lard Burgers Sold”… I will say this though, at least the chicken nuggets here taste like chicken.. Not like in the United States or Australia where the nuggets are made of anything BUT chicken meat 🙂
While we were having lunch, a young boy came up to us and begged for money. This boy was not some average child who would beg for money, but he was a true street-kid. Almost blind in one eye and wearing tattered cloths. Of all the people who sat there in Maccas today paid little attention to him, and either ignored him or looked away. Anna and I watched as this boy went up to a table and ate the remains of food that someone else had left. Doing what we felt was right, we gave the boy some money and gave him some hope for his day…
Next on the agenda for us was a visit to the Russian version of Ticketmaster, and we got tickets to go see the Russian cicrcus this coming Saturday. I am looking forward to this as this will be the first time I have been to a real circus! And what better way to see it than with family! (One person in particular.. If you are reading this, you will be in for a treat!)
After buying more tickets to go see a play on December 7th, we went to meet my new friend here in Samara, Sergey. Sergey works at the Nayanova University in the downtown of Samara. At first I had not thought too much into the details, but as we walked there, Anna mentioned to me that I may be speaking to some students today.
Okay! Panic Time!… Me? Infront of a classroom of kids, and talking? To quote Shaggy here, “YIKES! GANGWAY!!!” Public speaking was something I was never good at. I remember the last time I had to face an audience. It was at an Amway convention in Brisbane, when I earned my first (and ONLY) 3% Pin…
Now although I didn’t have to say much (apart from my name and who my uplines were), that was bad enough… Being there on stage all I could see was that darn spotlight shining in my eyes.. Giving me the feeling that I was about to sing to a train!!!
(Okay… Flashback now finished)
Okay, but that was then, and this is now… I am not the Shy person I once was.. Infact, I rather now like being in the public eye…
Right, I better get back on track before I go into a complete non-related tangent and confuse everyone.. including myself 🙂
We arrived at the University at around 4pm, and met Sergey at front as arranged. Sergey is really cool. He also works on the School English, which is a national publication which goes out to some 10,000 subscribers in Russia (way cool Sergey!!) http://schoolenglish.ru/
Sergey also asked me to drop by next Wednesday and give a talk to the students about my travelling experiences, writing, and answer questions. Really looking forward to this! Kinda reminds me of my “Show and Tell” days 🙂
As it turns out, Sergey is also into knife-throwing and competes at a national level. Now, for those of you who are not familiar with knife-throwing (no, it does not involve throwing knifes at someone, in the hope they will catch it in their teeth… For those who thought this, you have been watching TOO much David Copperfield!), you can go online here and check out what knife-throwing is all about:
The version for Samara is here: http://ivek.ru/knife.php?kn=1_1_23
After a brief tour of the Uni, Sergey took us to the area where they have the knife-throwing practise. Now this area is more or less located in the basement area of the Uni, and I have to tell you, this place is really decked to the nines! When you see the area for the first time, the walls have been hand crafted with oak and made to resemble the middle-ages. This was hand-crafted by current world knife-throwing champion, Mikhail Sedyshev (Who I had the pleasure of also meeting).
There are throwing knifes of all kinds, (one in particular was the knife that looked like it was made for Vlad the Impaler… and by the way, this one was my personal favorite!) and to say I was impressed is an understatement! Not only did I get to see what this sport is about, but Anna and I got to try our hand at knife-throwing. Okay, the object of this sport is to throw the knife at the target.. More or less like Darts… Sound easy? Yeah right! This was not as easy as it sounds as the knife doesn’t always hit the target, and more often than not, the knives would hit the target and go bouncing off somewhere else, mainly to the other side of the room, or anywhere else but the target. Okay, as difficult as this sport it, I still had a blast of a time! It was great fun to try to master this sport in a few seconds, but alas, it seems that my Jedi powers were completely on the blink today 🙂
Then we got to meet Mikhail Sedyshev. He is the current world champion. I have to say, he is a very down to earth guy and is very hospitable. Anna and I got to see all the different style of knifes and hand-crafted swords of all kinds that would make any collector envious! We even got to see the showroom of swords that are unavailable to the public (and got to wield these swords), and to top it off, I got to try on the official Sultan outfit that Mikhail won for first prize in the Asian Knife-Throwing Tournament.
Before we left Mikhail presented us with gifts that are truly amazing and absolutely priceless, not only for him, but us also.
Two more great things today. Mikhail and Sergey asked me to be a part of the National Tournament in February to represent Samara. This is a really cool, as I will be an Australian representing Russia in a national tournament. You can bet I am excited about this!
Lastly, soon I will be contributing to the School English magazine, so be sure to check this out online at: http://schoolenglish.ru/
Thank you Sergey and Mikhail. Anna and I had a great time this afternoon.