I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Timing is everything, or how I once sang a live solo across all of Canada

Delores E. Topliff

Years back, I sang a hearty alto in our Baptist church choir during competitions that advanced us to top standing in British Columbia, Canada. After achieving that rank, we headed to the downtown broadcast studio of CBC Canada (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) in Vancouver, B.C. and sang our hearts out in a show live from the Pacific Ocean to eastern seaboard Atlantic Provinces.

Like a bird dog on point eager to give my best, I gave full voice the moment our director raised his arm. The only problem was we were supposed to wait until he dropped his hand in a downbeat to join in.

Horrors! My lone voice boomed through the immense quiet void and echoed loudly from sea to shining sea. I don’t recall who won the national competition, but I’ll never forget my bone-chilling solo moment.

Timing is everything, whether it’s delivering the punch line of a joke, or laying lines in careful sequence for suspense plots that spring traps like a spider springing forward to catch its prey. Spring too soon and the prey escapes. Or, the joke falls flat.

We’ve all done it, but when we fail, our prey (and readers) escape.
The solution? Observe carefully and learn wisely. Build strong patterns to express conversations and stories just right.

Sometimes I copy down written sentences expressed so well they take my breath away to study later. In the heat of the moment, I can’t always  say things well, but with attention and practice, I improve.

What about you? Do you have a Blarney Stone gift? Or have you also experienced throat-clutching embarrassing moments when your timing is off?  Tell us what happened, and how you survived.


  1. I have so many throat-clutching embarrassing moments that I can't pinpoint one at this moment. But rest assured you are not alone. :-)

  2. And we learn from them all, right? Or include them in books! :)

  3. Dee:
    Such a perfect example of the importance of timing. And do you know I experienced the same kind of "it's all about timing" moment? Only it was during a church teen talent show when I was part of a trio ... and yes, I came in early, despite practicing for days and days and days with my friends. Sigh.
    How did I survive? Well, back then I thought it was the end of the world ... and it was -- for a while. But look: I'm still here. :)

    1. So glad you're still here. Thanks for reading/commenting.

  4. I think my memory is suppressing them all at the moment (thankfully), but I know all too well that I've had my moments. Hopefully my kids will kindly remain silent! And yes, when we do remember them, include them in a book!!

  5. Fun reading, Teri. And fun living, most of the time.