Close friends and relatives state with a quizzical eye that I genuinely seem to enjoy crisscrossing the country to talk about my books. My answer is that I have never enjoyed anything as much.
The book launch in Memphis for COPYBOY on July 31 is a good example. I did a live TV interview, a 45-minute radio interview and numerous print interviews. More than 125 attended the gathering at Novel bookstore. I spoke for about 20 minutes and then answered questions for about an hour. I hope the audience enjoyed it half as much as I did.
If I can be so bold as to put words in the mouths of my friends and relatives, I think what they are asking is if I enjoy exposing my stutter for the multitudes to hear. I don’t understand it either, but the answer is a resounding “YES.”
In my youth and early adulthood I would never have imagined that I would ever speak publically, much less enjoy it as much as I do. As a student and then in my 20s and 30s, I pulled some dumb stunts to get out of speaking in front of a group.
Somewhere along the way, I began to find my voice, but speaking in front of a group was still not something I enjoyed. It was not until I began to talk about my books that I became enamored of standing up in front of a group and telling my stories.
I enjoy speaking to young people the most. Something tells me that if I stand up and let these young souls see that presumed deficiencies don’t define a person, they will be the stronger for it. My definition of fluency is being able to say anything you want to when ever you want to. Quality of speech should not enter in to the equation.
Often I inform my hosts that if I get carried away and talk for too long, just throw something at me and I’ll sit down. I haven’t been beaned yet, but I wouldn’t rule it out.