Tag Archives: stories

GUEST POST: Riding the wave with Catherine Brophy

‘Set in the years of the Celtic Tiger, Burning Bright is told in the voices of Kerrigan family members and friends. It’s funny. It’s believable. And it will definitely make you laugh.’

This week’s guest post comes courtesy of Catherine Brophy, a storyteller, broadcaster and author.  Her new book burning bright is available through Amazon both in kindle and paperback.  Here she talks all about different ways of coping with speaking in front of a crowd and gives us all a few pointers

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FOR NIAMH

RIDING THE WAVE.

They say that the two greatest fears are:

1. Death

2. Speaking in public!

Wow.   Speaking in public is almost as scary as death!

I LOVE speaking in public.   I love standing up telling stories, giving a talk or giving a workshop.  I love the moment when all the eyes are looking and I know I have them in the palm of my hand.

It’s to do with a certain kind of power.   But hey…not in a Neuremburg rally kind of way!   It’s about the power of two-way communication.   Not just me telling you and you listening, but about you telling me something back and me listening as well.   Here let me explain.

There are three ways to respond to an audience.

THE FIRST

Eeeeeeeeeeeeekkkk !!!!!

They’re all looking at me!   What’ll they think of me?   They’ll think I’m stupid.  I’ll make a fool of myself.   I’ll get mixed up.   I’ll forget what I want to say.

So you get up, you do all the things you predicted.   You stumble, you forget, you make a fool of yourself, you embarrass the audience and afterwards you feel terrible and you swear that you’llnever do it again.   Either that or you run away and afterwards feel terrible and wish you had the courage to do it.

Rating: 0 stars!

THE SECOND

Create a mental glass wall.

Someone advises you to imagine them all naked.   But, when you’re standing up there, that’s difficult. So you take a deep breath and mentally cut yourself off.   Then you deliver your words.

This works reasonably well.   You get through your speech.  You don’t make a fool of yourself.  Afterwards you feel relieved and pleased that at least you did it. But the communication is only one way.  Because of the invisible wall, you were unaware of the audience response.   Ever sit through a talk/ lecture/ performance where you’re stifling the yawns and wishing they’d stop waffling and just hurry up and finish?   That’s someone who’s created an invisible wall.

Rating: 2 stars **

THE THIRD

Ride the Wave.

Anyone who has ever stood in front of an audience knows that you can feel something from them. Some kind of energy.   And that every audience feels different.  But every audience has one thing in common, a positive hope.   Please be good, they’re hoping, entertain me, inform me, interest me, make me laugh, make me cry, horrify me, thrill me, excite me.  Nobody gets themselves ready and leaves the comfort of home in the hope of being bored!  This means that:

Every audience is on your side.   Yieeeeeeeeeeha!

Every audience is willing you to be fabulous. Yabbadabbadoo! That’s what you feel when you stand up in front of them.   A wave of positive hope, of them willing you to be wonderful.

But then there’s the stuff going on in your body.  The huge cloud of butterflies fluttering about in your stomach.

Butterflies are the physical expression of adrenalin.

Adrenalin is the chemical that pumps you up to perform.

Butterflies love oxygen.   It helps them to fly in formation.    Take a couple of deep breaths.

But then there’s stuff going on in your head.  Will I remember?  Is it okay?  Assuming you know your stuff and that you’ve prepared – yes it will be fine.  Stand securely, feet shoulder width apart, relax your shoulders. Look at the audience. Yes look straight at them.   See all those shining eyes?   They love you already.    Breathe in that wave of positive energy and ride, baby ride.

Then something magical happens.  Suddenly you find that you can improvise, make off the cuff comments, make  jokes. And if you stumble over a word, forget something or make a mistake you have the confidence to laugh at yourself and instead of thinking you’re an eejit the audience loves you for being human. But most important of all, when you ride that wave, you become hyper-sensitive to the audience reaction.   You know when something is working and you know when to cut something off.   You now have information that will feed your next performance and make it even better.

Riding the wave means that you have to open yourself to your audience.   The first time you do it takes courage but the rewards are so great that next time it’s going to be a doddle!

Rating: 5 stars *****

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Catherine Brophy’s ‘Burning Bright’ can be found on Amazon here–  for kindle and here–    for Paperback.

Ps-you may have noticed a lack of updates lately here.  This is due to builders in my house and upcoming college exams. Because of the fact that I don’t have a roof, desk or any time to spare, Bank Holiday Tuesday will be taking a brief hiatus- See y’all next month! xx

Niamh ‘I’m just stepping out and may be some time’ Keoghan

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Tuesday Topic: recording one’s dreams

Tuesday topic: To give my oh so clever blog title a little bit of legitimacy and myself some kind of timetable, I’ll be updating each Tuesday with a blog about something.  More to follow!

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I love dream logic. I honestly do.  I love seeing what place exactly my brain is going to take me to tonight, I love being brought on a story and I love experiencing the narrative as it happens.  I love that dream narratives only make sense when one is in them and that while one is there all the weird shit going on makes perfect sense.  I love that there are certain things one can’t bring back from ones dream like the music that seems to soundtrack all of mine.  The only problem with dreams is that I always forget them!

I’ve started attempting to keep a dream diary, jotting down key faces, key colours, sounds, images, people I know and anything else I can remember in the moment after waking.  I was surprised on my first attempt by 2 things

1. how many people I know turn up in my dreams each night

2. how fucking weird my dreams really are

not even weird in a creepy or disturbing way.  Just this strange collage of locations, sounds, situations and characters that were obviously on my mind.  Prince William, Superman, their respective spouses, a bitchy old auntie, royal concubines and Christopher Lloyd all featured.  And in the moment of the dream, all made perfect sense.  It was brilliant!  That’s like the best story ever, how can you knock something like that?

I would type out the narrative- it’s in my head now, I remember clearly each different thread and plot that I went through.  They roughly break down into 4 or 5 sections all distinct from one another, but to type out the rationale behind all these wonderful and fucking hilarious characters would take away some of the magic of it.  It’s just fun to be able to look back over my stream of consciousness notes (Typed on my iPhone for an extra dash of pretension) and remember clearly all the different strands.

I’d recommend trying the dream notes thing at least once if only to see what crazy shit your mind might throw at you.  I can guarantee you won’t be expecting the connections you’ll find perfectly logical at the time.

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Niamh ‘All I do the whole night through is dream of you’ Keoghan