Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer Solstice---Carolyn R. Wilker

Summer Solstice for the Cambridge Toastmasters, of Cambridge, Ontario, is traditionally an outdoor meeting in a park with an author. This June, I was that invited writer with my book, Once Upon Sandbox. The last time I was their guest, the anthology, Wisdom of Old Souls, had recently been published.
I arrived to find a small group of parents with their children playing at the splash pad—a relatively new addition to the park—and members setting up for the outdoor meeting in the band shell. 
We were ready for the mosquitoes, but I suspect not for quite so much action around us—parents talking, children splashing and playing, and a lawnmower running nearby. Also, the usual traffic of trucks, motorcycles and cars on the main street. More sound apparently than is usual. Perhaps the light breeze kept mosquitoes at bay, though it flipped the club banner a few times and sent it to a crumpled  heap on the platform where we were sitting.

 A young boy of 4 or 5 years of age ran up the ramp a number of times, curious about what we were doing. Each time an adult scooped him up and took him back to play. One of the members said, “ Bring him back when he’s about 10 years older.” He corrected himself among us, “Maybe 12 years older,” for membership starts at 18 years of age for those who are interested.

Toastmasters, challenged to make themselves heard, carried on with their meeting, without a microphone, including a lively table topics session on vehicle of choice, a given amount of money and a summer vacation. There was an award presentation to the current president of the club and his challenge was to give an acceptance speech off the cuff. An educational session on impromptu speaking  was delivered by the member who had been sitting next to me in the circle.

In time the lawnmower was done with his task, the children went home with their parents, and the traffic seemed a little lighter. Now I was sure I could be heard. At least I hoped so.

My reading “What a Car!” seemed appropriate to this group and place, the beginning of summer when people often go for a drive. During my time at the lectern, when I read about buying my first new car, only a few loud motors sounded on the main street. For that I was grateful.

Evaluations completed, the chairperson thanked everyone for coming, including me as their guest. He said, with a grin, just before closing the meeting, ``Carolyn still has a few payments left on that car and those who want to buy a book are to see her."

The meeting was adjourned, and indeed I sold several books, including to our affable chairperson, Dave. Members planned where they'd meet afterwards—at a local pub for refreshments—as  the chair put it to me in an earlier email, "for a wee dram."

They betook themselves to their location and I drove home reflecting on the two years of promotion of this book and all the experiences and fun I`ve had in the process, at my own club, other Toastmaster clubs, and with other organizations. It was a privilege to join this group n their meeting, and I`m so glad that I went to Toastmasters long before this promotion process began. It's made the process so much more enjoyable.

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Well done, Carolyn! You really did well to keep your train of thought and hold the attention of your hearers against an interruptive soundscape and a *scenescape* of distraction. It was great that you kept your cool! ~~+~~

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