Eighteen years ago, I wrote an article for a magazine that got me called in for a taped interview with a Fox TV morning news anchor. Being an effective communicator and a skillful public speaker was a dream of mine at the time. And still is.
After some 30 minutes of prep with the station’s hair-and-makeup lady (which only made my anxiety mount), I clopped up to the dias and faced the camera in a carefully-pressed business suit and taupe high-heeled shoes. I was horribly nervous.
As the camera was queued to roll, and as the anchorman commenced his chirpy questioning, I found that, despite the prepared notes in my lap, I could not speak coherently. Words were coming out of my mouth that in no way connected to the chattering, critical thoughts in my head! Then I kept talking, hacking away at the spoken sentences, striving to perfect my thoughts. I couldn’t stop. After 15 minutes of this, the anchorman said something like, “O-kay, I think we’ve got it…”
I looked at the cameraman, who seemed much less ebullient and flirtatious now than when we’d started.
Clearly, I’d flubbed the interview. But then the anchorman leaned forward and gave me advice aimed at teaching me how to emote better on television. And what he said rained down on me as if he were Yoda, and I was young Jedi Luke Skywalker. His words had the strange ability to change a disaster into something better. He said: “You should never feel like you have to fill up all the space.” He paused before continuing.
“When you complete a thought, just stop and I’ll start talking. That’s my job. The responsibility to fill the space is not all yours.”
A-ha. This story came back to me so vividly yesterday as I was sitting on the subway, pondering what I would write you in my final post, now that I’m taking my blogging break.
Filling this space has been a total joy. Every writer’s ego’s dream is to spout off, have a column with a photo on top for all to see. My happiness with the project deepened as I realized that I was really uplifting you, or inspiring you, or that I made you laugh a time or two. Your letters earlier this week were read and re-read by me with such pleasure! Thank you!
But I don’t have to fill the space forever. It’s an appropriate time for you to talk more in other contexts about what you know and believe. For if you don’t, the louder-mouthed, we’ve-got-the-total-picture people will blab right over us, and fill our space with their pompous inanity. I wish I could say that blogging about spirituality has made me more sure that God exists or helped me decide which dogma is absolutely correct, but in truth, I’m comfortable admitting that there’s a hell of a lot of wonderful overlap–we are truly all one–no message is best.
Read on to connect with which websites and blogs I think you’ll like in my absence.