This week I faced one of my greatest fears.
I sat on the couch and stared into the silent eye of an omnipotent monster who, with its unblinking eye of cold steel and glass, stared me down to size, then sucked this newly-diminished me whole into its darkness. I’ll never be the same again.
Coach and editor, Dexter Ico, generously offered to work with me on one of my greatest fears: speaking. And my greatest speaking fear? Public speaking. My greatest public speaking fear? Speaking in front of The Camera. Dexter is an acting coach who uses his professional-grade intuitive skills to nurture actors and to take them to new levels of artistry.
Some crazy part of me thought it would be kind of fun, in dare-devilish sort of way, to explore my fear. Besides, I was so impressed with Dexter’s work that I thought, why not? What could it hurt? I have this new book to promote, and I know that I’ll have to find new ways to present my writing other than just reading sentences in my normal monotone. I thought that Dexter might be able to offer a few tips that would instantly transform me from a dull and fearful speaker into an engaging and thrilling performer. Then I’d sell lots of books and everyone would be proud.
But Dexter didn’t do that.
He just sat me in front of the camera and he asked me what inspired me.
He asked me what was most important to me.
He asked me what I stood for.
He asked me what I believe in.
He asked me to tell a story.
So I talked.
Soon I learned I was right to be afraid. Horrors really do lie waiting within The Camera’s gaze.
The Camera with It’s unforgiving silence, stripped me down to my most bland and unimpressive core and mocked me. Each word that slowly emerged from my mouth sat dull and lifeless with me on the couch. In an effort to look good, I said many empty words, told lifeless stories of dead things, none of which spoke the truth to any one, not even me. I just wanted sound as if I could make sense. So the lies came tumbling out.
If I had told the truth, I would have said that nothing is true.
I would have said that nothing is more important than anything else.
I would have said that I’m not sure what I stand for and that I’m not sure what to believe.
And then I would have made up a story without a punch line that made no sense.
Dexter says the real learning will take place on the second of our sessions. I know it doesn’t make sense for me to look forward to it.
But I am.