Wednesday, April 25, 2007

me against the world!

Many, many times I have explained to Jon that I am the slayer. He simply will not believe me. This may be because, mostly, I feel the need to hide my superhuman strength.

Now, thanks to Steve, I think my case is watertight.

And I'll hear none of this "but you look nothing like her in real life" nonsense.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

shepherding the flock

Jon and I went to North Devon recently to celebrate my Gran's 80th birthday. Lots, lots and lots of the Shepherd clan were present.

It was a good occasion, clearly meaning a lot to my Gran. We stayed in B & Bs, slept on floors and travelled around the windy Devon roads all weekend in her honour. She is a full-time carer for my Grandfather, now wheelchair-bound and increasingly lacking in confidence. I don't think he knows who I am any more, which is strange.

My Gran's feisty and sharp, though, and enjoys company (and being the centre of attention, I suspect!)

Jon discovered a Shepherd tradition he knew nothing of: Flanders and Swann. He had his head in his hands as young and old raised their voices in unison to tunelessly serenade my Gran with 'Mud, Mud Glorious Mud' at the party......

Good job he's already committed!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

speaking trouble

I am currently part-way through a week-long meeting.

This is difficult for me. I dislike even the shortest meetings. (Admittedly, most I've ever attended have been dominated by clergymen. But for once, this is not the root of my trouble).

I just can't speak normally in a meeting. Everything I utter is the result of frantic mental preparation and stress and materialises in rather garbled, nervy form. It's difficult to analyse such linguistic incompetence - I'd pass for articulate in almost every other scenario - but I'll try to pin down some of the reasons for it.

1) I'm keen to get any meeting over and done with, so why prolong them with my own speech?
2) Surely the other people in the room are cleverer than me and so already know what I'm about to say?..........
3) ....or else are so stupid that they won't understand what I mean anyway, so I may as well keep quiet.
4) Speech will reveal my extremely naive take on the situation being discussed.
3) 'Meeting talk' is a complex blend of conversation and public address. In conversation, I focus on people, not work. In public, I like to say amazing and life-changing things. It's impossible to do either satisfactorily in a meeting.
4) Unless I'm the chairman (heaven forbid), my role in a meeting is never entirely clear. How do I fit in? What am I supposed to say?

When asked to present a speech on a particular topic, I do it pretty well. When asked to be quiet and take minutes, I'll happily get on with it. But leave me to fend for myself in that grey area between 'practical tasks' and 'speech for its own sake' and I'll flounder.

Second problem this week has been the fact that I'm terribly self-conscious. After a day or so spent sitting silently in a meeting, I become increasingly convinced that everyone else is consumed by wondering why I don't contribute more. This leads to self-doubt and even, given half a chance, self-loathing.

My main question, I imagine, should be: in what way have I moved on since my 12th birthday?

Aaaah well. Onward and upward.

Saturday, April 07, 2007