Being Shoved and Dragged to the Spotlight

So, the coming weekend will bring the arrival of more travel for me. This time, I’ll be headed to Many Gods West in Washington state. I’ve never been there before, so I’m sure I will get lost plenty between the airport and the hotel. But that’s ok, I am arriving the day before, so I can try and navigate the best that I can. But I am actually looking forward to this trip. There’s a handful of reasons, but the most important one for me is to provide representation for Crow. I’m not presenting anything…not on a panel…just there as a person coming to the convention. Besides….

Speaking in front of crowds makes me uneasy. Even teaching in the classroom – from which I am now three years removed – made me feel uncomfortable. There’s honestly not a whole lot that I think I could provide to a conference that would be of interest. I’m just a simple, solo, polytheist Pagan Druid making his way through Life with my daily rites and devotions. I’m really just like anyone else. And yet….

I have a trickster God (thanks Crow) that keeps pushing me towards storytelling. And I practice. I record each attempt, and play it back and listen. I learn from what I hear. The inflection in the voice – the points of stumbling on words from languages that I don’t know, such as Irish. To try and resolve that, I decided to try and learn Irish. I’m not bad at it, but its painfully obvious that I am novice. My German is rusty, though there are stories I would like to tell from that. And then there’s the American folklore and the First Nations stories as well. And I keep getting reminded – one story at a time…and when you’re ready, start releasing what you record.

…and I got a Soundcloud account just for that. I stuck up my attempt at the “Screen Door Boar”. And I’ve not gone back to check any stats. So…I guess now is better than anytime.  And its only gotten two plays in the last three months, which is ok with me. Its only a partial recording of the story I told around the fire at Gulf Coast Gathering. I warned zero people that I was going to tell it, so no one seemed really ready on recording it. But everyone who heard it thought it was a lot of fun. For me, it was one of the scariest moments of my life.

And yet here I stand. At the threshold to going the route of the storyteller. Bringing a voice to the mounds of poetry I have written. Learning a language so I can pronounce words better. Learning to play guitar – even just a little bit – so I can add some extra push to what I write. And I have stagefright. Me. The guy who podcasts (sometimes). The guy who was a teacher (and nearly shat his pants every time I stood in front of the class). And I get the shakes every single time I try to stand in front of a group of people.

….then there’s the podcast, which I set off to the side for the moment. I will be bringing my recorder to the convention. And I will be looking for folks that want to talk. I won’t be recording any of the panels – because that would just be rude for me to show up and do so. I’m unsure of what the recording policy might be – and honestly, I’ve not asked. So for me, that places the recording of panels on the “no” list for me. But I will be looking for folks that just want to talk…away from the convention. Quietly.  One-on-one, or with a few folks talking about a particular subject. What that intention will bring? I have no clue whatsoever. However its where I am being led. And honestly, I’ll follow that lead….because I trust where its coming from.

So, somewhere in all of this – I need to conquer the fear of being up front where people can see me and hear. I’ll be at CalderaFest this year as well….and I volunteered to announce some of the folks playing on the stage. If there was ever a moment where I will need to completely conquer that fear…it will be there. And yes, I will have the recorder in hand to talk with folks. Because…well, that’s what the podcast is about. Talking to folks about how they came to the Path they are on…or whatever else they might wish to discuss.

I do understand why I am being pushed to the forefront – with a talon shoving my heel and a beak catching me firmly in the small of the back – stories are important. Stories are the oral history. Stories are the lessons. Stories are the fun. And people laughing and enjoying themselves pushes me forward. Knowing that I can entertain, as well as teach, pushes me to the forefront. And the only way I will get better – is to do it. And then there’s the stories of other people. How they came to be where they are, why they are on this Path – because others need to hear the stories of people to realize that (a) they are not alone, and (b) their own story is not that different from other people.

As for the stagefright…..Crow says that I can clean myself afterwards….


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