Reading and Writing (no Arithmetic)

henry jame's portrait of a lady

I have recently finished reading Henry James’s ‘The Portrait of a Lady’; it’s the very first Henry James novel I’ve tackled *hangs head in literary shame*. It’s the current choice of my book club and as we meet only every other month there’s lots of notice about forthcoming books so they shouldn’t be time-pressured reads.

But I didn’t start reading, as per, until the last-minute and philistine that I am the first thing I checked when I bought the book was exactly how many pages I needed to plough through. Oops, nearly seven hundred, the question then was could I finish it before tomorrow night’s meeting. I need not have worried because as soon as I started to read ‘The Portrait’ I became engrossed in the story; I wanted to finish it quickly yet paradoxically I was enjoying it so much I didn’t want it to end.

In between reading ‘The Portrait’ I have also been writing a speech. I am a member of Toastmasters (a public speaking club) and an aeon ago I put myself down to deliver a speech this Thursday. Once again, I left it to the last-minute. It’s written now but it needs some a great deal of polishing. And I need to rehearse and time it. So, if you know me and you see me driving or walking around while simultaneously muttering madly to myself rest assured I am not losing my marbles. I am just practising my speech and more importantly trying to memorize it as it has to be delivered without the use of notes. Aargh, just thinking about it feels stressful. *starts to tear hair out*.

Speaking of notes here’s one to my myself: you really need to stop leaving things to the eleventh hour.


Filed under Books, Musings

14 responses to “Reading and Writing (no Arithmetic)

  1. Haha, I see we have so much in common:) I’m a true procrastinator.. my house never looks cleaner than when I’m avoiding something. Now I must set everything aside again and read this book.. I’ve been looking for a good one! xx

    • My middle name should have been procrastination, I have truly mastered the ‘art’. It’s always nice to talk to a fellow procrastinator. The book is (I think) well worth putting everything aside for. xox

  2. Hi B, I am sure your speech is going to be great – and then just in case, do as all good orators do: improvise! 😉
    And as to procrastination, look at it this way: having so little time left is going to force you to extra perform and draw the very best out of you. Time pressure is universally known as one of the greatest motivators. Stressful, you bet, but effective! 🙂
    I’m sure it’ll be a success.
    Best of luck!

    • Thanks Stefano. The speech is in better shape now but I may still need to do some improvisation.

      I am good at procrastination, good in the sense that I tend to leave much to the last minute. You are so right a deadline is a great motivator. 😉

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  3. Hello, B. Can I say that I’m a little jealous of you. Why? You say that you are an introvert yet you are going to give a speech. I was never able to do that. My whole life, I have been the one behind the scene, the “ghost writer” always having someone else giving the speech or doing the presentation that I prepared. I simply cannot help myself. You have all my admiration. I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully. Good luck, my friend!

    • Hi Francesca, I am very much a introvert, I like: solitude, I prefer to meet friends on a one to one basis and I truly don’t like big parties. I am also shy so it is a bit of a paradox that I actually enjoy giving a speech. Part of Toastmasters ethos is to be encouraging and supportive so everyone wants you to do well when you get up to speak. Naturally not all my speeches have worked, but even when they don’t the members find something encouraging to say.I enjoyed debating when I was at school so I think that’s what attracted me to toastmasters. Maybe some day you will try Toastmasters there are branches everywhere and guests are always welcome (no pressure to join).

      Your good wishes are very much appreciated. Thanks x

  4. All these things start out being fun – there shouldn’t be deadlines! Let us know who everything turn out… 🙂

    • Thanks Meg for your interest. It’s a case of ‘all’s well that ends well’ as I am just back from my Toastmasters meeting and I am glad that I managed to get through my speech in a reasonably competent way.

  5. I rather think my entire life occurs at the fabled eleventh hour. Perhaps it’s best you spend a little visit or two to it as well or our paths might never cross! 😉

  6. Aren’t those books special, the ones you read quickly, gobbling up the words and the story and yet don’t want them to end!

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