I have been invited to speak/perform at the TEDxGullLake event in 2017. I will have twelve minutes to address my fish-out-of-water story of moving from New York City to New York Mills and sing my song portraits about oddballs in history. I have a few questions to ponder before I prepare my presentation.
1. How does a person fit shrink both of these topics down enough to cover them both in twelve minutes?
I have no idea as of yet. But I know I better get started now. As pointed out in a biography of Woodrow Wilson:
A member of the Cabinet congratulated Wilson on introducing the vogue of short speeches and asked him about the time it took him to prepare his speeches. He said:
“It depends. If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”
2. How do I link oddballs in history to my own story of being a fish-out-of-water?
Of course, there is the obvious approach of declaring myself to be an oddball in history, and calling that good enough.
3. Which of my songs do I present?
My songs are kind of like my children (with all due respect to my two actual human children). I love them all equally. Thus, it is very hard for me to select from among my dozens of songs the one or two or three that are best performed at this TED talk. Should I go with Madam Elinor Knott of Butte, Montana? Or the Jewish pioneer and mail order bride Rachel Calof? What about Dorothy Moulter, the Root Beer Lady? Or even the story of the synagogue made out of the Devil’s Lake, North Dakota courthouse? This might be the hardest part of my preparation process.