BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,


Still no definitive word on the job front (I'd e-mailed the VP who'd been interviewing me, and he e-mailed back that there had been no decision as yet, but would let me know as soon as there was one). Sigh. However, the hotel wants me to bartend three days this week, so that's something.

I'm off to give my ToastMasters "Ice Breaker" speech tonight ... it's 4-6 minutes "about me", and is mainly focusing on my relationship to books over the past half century. Yes, it's thrilling. I'll probably blog later to critique myself.

I'm all nervous and stuff about it, although I took up "my time" at the group session down at CTC this morning to run through it with a live audience. I did pretty well there, with the only complaint that I was rushing through it. This is not necessarily a bad thing as most of my "timed" readings have been slipping right up to (or often over) the six-minute mark, so if I'm rushing a bit, I should end up being close to the 5:30 I thought I had when I wrote it!

{Edit - 10:43pm} Here's my "Ice Breaker" speech:

Thank you M. Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters, and honored guests.

Well, enough about everyone else ... let's talk about ME!

Ah, there's the nice thing about the ToastMasters "icebreaker" ... you get to use THAT line and not get pelted with over-aged produce!

I have to admit ... I had the darndest time coming up with this speech, as, frankly, I'm kinda hard to pin down ...

I end up doing a lot of "tap dancing" when folks ask stuff about me

because the "right answer" often depends on focus and context, and there's rarely a direct response that will work.

I even did up a chronology of my life in preparation for this talk ...

however, while it would have easily filled up the allotted six minutes and covered all the salient points, I was hoping to come up with something a bit more engrossing to have you sit through!

I ended up deciding to deal with BOOKS ...

Now, books are, obviously, an important part of every educated person's life, so this is just one of those "narrow focus" approaches I was talking about

I bought my first book when I was just in second or third grade.

It was paperback, on a spinning rack at the corner pharmacy at 79th Street and 1st Avenue, down the block from where we lived in New York City.

It had a DINOSAUR on the cover ... a T-Rex.

I had to have that book!

As it turned out, it was a copy of Conan Doyle's THE LOST WORLD, and I tried ... bringing all my budding intellectual capacities to bear ... I TRIED to read that thing.

Unfortunately, my 7-year-old brain just didn't have the vocabulary built up to do much more than grab bits and pieces.

However, the memory of attempting the challenge of reading it has stayed with me ...

as had, remarkably, the book ...

and it comes to mind every time I face a difficult read.

Fast forward several years, and shift the scene to Chicago.

In highschool I was a voracious reader of science fiction books, often blowing through several titles a week ... ON TOP of my regular schoolwork.

This reading habit laid the foundation of my current extensive library.

Run the clock ahead again ... I started writing poetry "seriously" in college and began putting out "chapbooks" of my poems every year or so after graduation.

I was in Public Relations at the time, but found that I really loved the process of creating books.

Move ahead to the fateful year of 1993.

Seeking to see where I could take my poetry ventures, I took the step of founding a little publishing firm intended as a side-project for me while toiling in the P.R. saltmines.

Between March and December of that year, many things happened ...

One, I discovered that nobody really BUYS poetry, causing me to re-think the basis on which I'd formed my publishing company.

Two, I attended the Parliament of the World's Religions and made many contacts with eager would-be authors.

Three, immediately following the Parliament, I was involved in a near-fatal car crash which had me hospitalized for the better part of several months.

Resulting in ...

Four, the decision that our family's Public Relations business couldn't operate without me and would close at the end of the year.

So, there I was, still rehabbing assorted busted parts,

with no job to go back to ...

with this little publishing company set up ...

and all these eager authors ...

and a nest-egg from my now-liquidated stock ...

and a love of creating books ...

So I jumped in with both feet.

I produced five titles for our first release and spent the next 8 years trying to build my little publishing company into some tangible dream.

It worked on some levels, but not on others.

Due to a series of unfortunate events, after issuing a couple of dozen well-received titles, the company was, for all practical intents and purposes, dead by 2001, but I could not bring myself to "pull the plug on it" until 2004.

Looking back on my "publishing years" the oddest thing was that it ended up that I wasn't reading ANYTHING during that whole time aside, of course, from incoming manuscript submissions!

Mind you, I kept BUYING books, but I never quite got around to reading them!

In 2003, a friend sent me a couple of novels that she'd been raving about.

I felt it would be IMPOLITE to not read these, so I did ... and realized what I'd been missing when working 14 hours a day 7 days a week the previous decade in my own publishing business!

I was hooked again, and started not only reading, but reviewing books, posting these in my blog for all the world (or what few regular readers I have) to see.

Then, in 2005, along came Library Thing, which put me into much closer contact with my books.

Library Thing is an on-line cataloging site that lets one enter, search, compare and contrast, one's library in relation to thousands of other users' collections.

It was an amazing experience to actually HANDLE each and every book on my shelves in the process of entering the information on the site.

Aside from discovering that I still HAD that first book I ever bought, I was able to re-connect with various subject areas that I have studied over the years.

Interfacing with Library Thing also brought a new fervor to my reading, resulting in my having read more titles in this calendar year (fifty-seven so far) than in the previous twelve years combined!

In closing, I'd like to invite you to visit my now-free-standing review blog at BTRIPP dash BOOKS at LIVE JOURNAL dot COM and my Library Thing catalog linked out from that.

I have my library (or at least the last 25 years' worth) organized in very close to chronological order, so you can walk through my intellectual journey, book by book.

Thank you very much.

Visit the BTRIPP home page!

Tags: toastmasters
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.