A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rainy Day and Masters of the Toast

Rainy Day has been paying attention to the way people speak for a long time. She unabashedly listens in on snippets of conversations when she is in a restaurant, or at the Mall, or wherever people gather and talk to each other loud enough she can hear. And Rainy Day can't help but wonder whatever has happened to our language?

We have become a speech lazy, y'know, nation. We, like, can barely, y'know? get a, like, sentence out without, um, a verbal, ah, pause. Y'know?

Not only has our casual speech degenerated into a chasm so deep as to barely be recognized; Rainy Day finds the same speech reinforced in the movies and tv shows.

A few weeks ago, Rainy Day attended a meeting, where the speaker gave a talk to writers, and wannabe writers, on writing. Rainy Day admits the notes Ms. Author distributed were quite interesting, but, y'know, like at least, y'know, 50% of like, her talk, was filled with, like, y'know. This person has sold novels, and gives talks to the public. Rainy Day truly believes Ms. Author is unaware of her verbal pauses, and subsequent turn-off of potential buyers and readers. Rainy Day is pleased to announce she did not scream, "No! I don't know!" every time Ms. Author used that phrase. Nor did Rainy Day comment that, "No she really did not like...". Rainy Day has a tad more couth than that. Not much, mind, but a tad.

J. A. Jance, Author
And Ms. Author is not alone. Rainy Day knows several writers who, ah, um, can't talk without, ah, um, verbally pausing instead of just pausing. Rainy Day admits to doing it, too, especially if she's around others who use verbal pauses frequently. Rainy Day also admits she tries very hard not to use verbal pauses. Alas, Rainy Day is a natural mimic, y'know?

Hence the title of this essay – Masters of the Toast, or Toastmasters. Rainy Day has belonged to Toastmasters twice in her life, and learned a great deal from the experiences. Not that Rainy Day plans a career of public speaking, but she does now and then read poetry and selected prose in public. And Rainy Day hopes to do more as her books are bought and read.

Toastmasters Clubs are all over the world. One can find a meeting to fit into one's schedule – early morning, lunch hour, or evening. Toastmasters offers a safe place to learn both speaking skills and leadership skills, even if you never do anything in the way of public speaking beyond offering a toast at a family gathering – or participate in a writer's convention. Rainy Day remembers her first Toastmasters group and how many of the members were managers at the large aerospace company where Rainy Day worked. These men and women used Toastmasters to present and polish their upcoming pitches to customers or higher-level managers. Rainy Day learned a lot about her company in that Toastmasters club.

If you are a writer, of either prose and or poetry (would both be 'Prosety?'), Rainy Day thinks Toastmasters is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Unless you want to sound like, y'know, a professional, uh, like, ahhh, ath-a-lete.

Her latest book - Buy it! Read it!
Don't just take Rainy Day's word for it; take the word of professional writers, such as J. A. Jance. She, too, recommends Toastmasters to all newly published or about to be published writers. If you speak well, people will trust that you also write well. If y'know, like your speech is like filled with, ah, verbal pauses and useless words, people will think your writing is, too.

(Note: Rainy Day uses photos and reference to J. A. Jance with J. A. Jance's knowledge and permission.) 

Do you fill your pauses with something verbal? Or do you pause with your mouth closed while you think of what you are going to say? Where did 'like' and 'y'know' come from as verbal pauses? Ummm, what do you think of those, ummmmm, noisy fillers?

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