The staff at Chorley library were wonderful. They had prepared well and when I arrived all was ready for my talk which was to be followed by a book signing. It was Friday evening and those coming to the event had been promised a cup of tea and a biscuit!
It is always interesting to me as a writer to watch the people as they come in: they are from all walks of life, I never know what or who to expect. I look at their faces, their demeanour and try to see what they are really like. We are all so different, human beings we may be … but no one really knows what our life experience has been; each person is an enigma.
Sixty chairs set out, few were empty as I walked to the speaker’s chair. I love to meet people to talk to them about my work and my writing, knowing as I stand before them that my real hope is that they will walk away feeling better about themselves, that the time spent together will have placed a deposit in their emotional bank!
People ask me if I get nervous before these events. Before I reply I briefly recall the audiences I have met not only throughout this great country but America, Australia and Germany. No I do not suffer from the traditional stage fright but I am filled with excitement and an eagerness to please.
Previously cards and letters would follow my appearances now courtesy of the internet we have emails so prompt and so easily sent that sometimes they arrive within minutes of my reaching my home base.
A grey haired smiling woman approaches and thankfully reminds me how long I have known her and that she reads my books. I try to recall where we last met luckily for me she fills in the details.
Two familiar faces now coming through the door. A friend who first heard me speak in the eighties; decades later we met again and on that occasion as she introduced me to her husband he laughed saying that he was glad to meet me at last, as he had been urged to live his life according to Vera Waters.
Elizabeth the librarian who with the help of her staff has made the evening possible introduces me to the audience. As I begin I notice a man with glasses sitting to my right he has a familiar face. I know instinctively that he reads my books, we exchange a knowing smile I have met him before but cannot recall where or when.
And then I ask how many in the gathering have read my books or heard me speak before and half the audience if not more raise their hands. A silent prayer drifts through my head … thank you God … not all strangers!
I need to find out if one of the people who emails me is here. All I know is that today she has been rambling in Hebden Bridge. I ask … She declares herself and I am reminded of her lovely email messages. An older lady sitting near the front smiles, her whole face lights up. Her make up carefully applied … she is still beautiful despite the onset of time. Her eyes send out a kind message. Did she once have the world swooning at her feet!
For me meeting any group of people is a privilege. Large or small, corporate or social, workshops, training, away days after lunch speaking every event in which I can interact with my listeners is an adventure!
As a Speaker I must be interesting, informative and most of all positive in order to reach into the minds and hearts of the audience. It is essential to join with them to share laughter, tears, joy and empathy. A good speaker must give in order to receive and be at one with those who come to listen. This is not always an easy task. Each appearance also presents an exciting challenge.
Friday was a wonderful evening for me.
My thanks to you Elizabeth Russ and the library staff and to all those who came to share the laughter and the joy with a special thanks to those of you who read my books and support my work.
Vera Waters, Author, Broadcaster and Life Coach.
Hope to see you all at my next library talk in March
Copyright Vera Waters
‘With thee conversing I forget all time’.
Milton Paradise Lost