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.