A speech that almost happened


Timing is everything.

My speech was a great one; it was tweaked, streamlined, power-pointed and ready. I showed up, but it didn’t happen.

We were invited to our pastor’s house for lunch. I was telling the four at the table that this speech I prepared for a writer’s conference was burning inside of me, needing to be told.

I said, “I’m fertile to tell my little speech.”

My Sweet Al’s eyebrows went up, his eyes started blinking and twinkling.

The pastor’s wife said, “Wow! We have a extra bedroom in the back.”

I said, “I’ll take a rain check. I’d rather give my speech. I’ll make it quick.”

The pastor asked, “What’s it about?”

“I’m glad you asked. It’s about the rhythm of time for a writer. It’s about that moment when you’re prepared, you’re in alignment with the universe, the market is ready, your words flow onto the sheet of paper, and someone gets excited about it.

“It’s not about your age: you might be a late bloomer. It’s not about your education: you might have barely graduated from high school because you were too busy looking at the boys.

“It’s not about how ready you are: you might have lived your whole life thinking you were ready.

“It’s not about the sale of your book —only your friends and family have bought it. It’s not about money; you might be living on a limited income.

“It’s not where you live. You might be living on the Lower Blanco at your computer.

“It’s all in the timing.

“For a mystery writer, it’s when to hold back that final clue needed to solve the mystery. For a humorous writer it’s about rhythm in your humor and voice. I don’t know if it’s a learned instinct, or you’re just born with it. It’s all about timing.”

I have said many times and in many ways, “I think it’s my time,” and nothing happened.

“It feels right,” and I’m still on the launching pad.

“It’s right around the corner,” and it wasn’t there.

“I feel like I’m in a sweet spot,” and the ball goes out of the court.

One thing I’ve never said is, “It’s not my time.”

Here’s my little speech that didn’t happen.

“The Rhythm of Time for Writers.

“Rhythm of time will bring your place, vocation and your goal. There is an appointed time for you. You need to be ready!

“Jeremiah 9:7 says even the birds have a vocation and know their time, but my people don’t. Wow! Even nature chastises us, because we’re not in tune with the One who made us, and what we are called to do.

“Migratory birds each have a different vocation. The stork returns to Palestine, and has been described as the ‘stork in the heavens.’ It refers to the immense height at which they fly during migration.

“The turtle dove returns and is the sure sign of spring. It represents new life.

“The crane and swallow are all about whooping and trumpeting that rings through the night air in spring.

“The swift has a shrilling scream. There is no bird made more conspicuous by the suddenness of its return than the swift.

“Birds are free to roam through illimitable regions of air — the high-flying stork, the turtle dove, the swift and the crane all keep to their true course, not dropping down, tempted by the attractions of leafy vales or fruitful gardens. They don’t turn aside, terrified by the horrors of high mountains,  by lonely deserts, stormy seas, or my Sweet Al’s shotgun. They reach their destination in punctual obedience to the mysterious law of their nature. They migrate by their inward law, called instinct.

“For man, it comes as a mandate of duty, an impulse in the conscience, a way to clearly perceive what we should be doing on this earth, our place, our vocation and our voice.”

So, that Sunday afternoon after the meal, I said to the wife of our pastor, “You and I are like cranes and swallows. I’m not going to apologize anymore about who I am. I get too excited, I get pushy, passionate, over-the-top and even loud at times. I’ve got to write it, talk about it and paint it. It’s who I am. I think it’s my time.”

Final brushstroke: So there, I finally gave my speech. Was it the right time? Who knows? Someone out there might be waiting for things to turn around, for their ship to come in, or their book to be published. When it’s your time, be ready, be confident and keep showing up. When you show up, things happen. It’s all in the timing.

Artist’s quote

“Most great people have achieved their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” — Napoleon Hill.

Readers’ comments

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This story was posted on November 14, 2013.