Friday, June 23, 2006

Conference delegates

Editing my conference script went better than expected yesterday; if I can find the same inspiration today, then it will be finished and ready for rehearsing by tomorrow.

The conference delegate list was published this morning on the website - I think I'd better wear my best frock! These people move in different circles than I do; and yet, I have to admit that, on balance I'm probably slightly more excited than anxious. I've always enjoyed a challenge and I really enjoy meeting people who have a completely lifestyle and outlook than I do.

My lack of nerves about this event can be attributed to a couple of very fortunate character traits; firstly, stage-fright only hits me in the minutes, or sometimes just the actual moment immediately prior to a big event. This is the same whether the event is a performance, a reading, a talk, a live interview, or meeting someone important. And because it happens so close to the event there is no possibility of backing out; I have to just breath deep and get on with it.

The second reason is my deeply held belief that we all really do share a common humanity. There is always a point of reference between two people that allows at least a spark of recognition and respect to flow between them. We might not always be conscious of this spark, which means we can't always fan it into life, but I'm certain that it always exists. It's because of this belief that I'll be honouring the delegates and the conference organisers by dutifully preparing my presentation over the next 2 weeks; and, I'll be genuinely looking forward to the experience of meeting some very interesting people.

As a friend of mine used to say: Onwards, ever onwards.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Preparing a conference presentation

This time of the morning is usually given to the writing of my second book, The Moondance of Destiny. However, for the next four weeks it won't be possible to give much attention to book writing. Instead I'll be focussing on three very important events that are about to unfold. These are: the imminent wedding of my daughter Meegan, on Saturday, 1st July; an extended visit from a dear friend, Liz, who is coming for the wedding and staying with me for three weeks; and finally, my preparation for a giving a presentation to a major conference taking place at the CBI on July 6th.

The theme of the conference, wait for it, is Corporate Manslaughter. You can find out more about the conference at my website but basically it's about the new legislation that will hold corporate executives accountable for any deaths that occur, either of, or by their employees, if the death can be shown to have resulted from inadquate company policy or practices.

I've been invited to speak to the delegates about my experience of causing an accidental death. My presentation isn't a facts and figures talk but a dramatic retelling of the terrible consequences of causing a death. It's a 45 minute scripted monologue that I've performed many times, including at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2004. However, I only have 30 mintes for the conference slot so I have to rework the script. This means reducing an already cut to the bones presentation by one third!! And then of course, once it's edited, I have to remember not to fall into the habit of presenting it in the usual way. Hence, I will be giving a fair amount of time and energy over these next two weeks to getting it right. After all, the conference organisers have taken a gamble putting me on the speakers list so I don't want to let them down.

Anyway, enough procrastinating. Time to get editing.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A new career as a writer

When my book, To Cause A Death, was published in June 2004, I had no idea how it would be received. The topic of causing an accidental death is hardly a common conversation subject, in fact it's far more likely to stop a conversation rather than enhance it!
Another unknown aspect of my book was whether my experience had any resonance at all with others who share my destiny; I'd never found another book that describes a first-hand account of causing an accidental death so I had nothing to compare my story to.
But the unknown quantity that provoked the most anxiety was whether my untested writing skills were adequate to convey the extraordinary thirty-three year odyssey that I was catapulted into when I caused the death of a pedestrian, Margaret Healy.
It is now exactly two years since the books publication and thankfully, I can report that all three of the concerns described above have had positive outcomes. The book has been very well received both by the media and the reading public; my story has encouraged others who share my destiny to speak their own stories (see my website for examples); and, I've been pleasantly surprised by the positive comments about my writing style.
So, what now? This blog will be about what happens next to a 52 year old woman who suddenly finds herself on the cusp of a new career as a writer. And, it will be about the ongoing journey of my first book, which is now in the process of being adapted for the stage.