On my bookshelf

  • "The Breathing Book" by Donna Farhi
  • "Confessions of a Public Speaker" by Scott Berkun
  • "My Freshman Year" by Rebekah Nathan
  • "Power Presentation" by Patsy Rodenburg

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Camp Fire Songs

One of my favourite parts of teaching is when a participant starts to really enjoy creating sound and they say something like, "Oh, I remember when I was a kid I made up these great songs." or "I love singing in the shower." Memories of a freedom they may not have felt for a very long time bubble to the surface. Usually, the next class they will arrive with stories about how they sang in the car for the first time in a very long time. For me summer brings these memories to the surface.

In the living room of our house that was build in 1907 are three built- in bookshelves, two of which hug the entry way to the front foyer. In one of those, on the second shelf up, was where my mother kept her dog-eared Girl Scout Guide Song Book. Whenever we went on a camping trip my mother would not only pack the most exquisite gourmet meals to be prepared over an open fire she would also bring her little guitar and if there was time after the tent preparation, exploration, cooking and cleaning, she would sing songs from her Guide days: Barges, Kookabura, This Land is my Land and many more filled our heads and hearts connecting us to each other and our mother's previous life as we munched on S'mores.

CBC currently has an article posted inviting you to send in your favourite camp song:


What I have decided that I will do for my children (maybe more myself, if truth be told) is to print out the lyrics of my favourite songs and put together a little book that we can take with us on our next outing. Better yet, I can teach them to the kids in the car on our way to our holiday.

I found a very extensive repository that included so many songs I hadn't thought about in years. Here it is for those of you who might want to keep that voice in shape in a slightly different way this summer:


May your songs be lively, your S'mores be messy and your summer nights breathtaking!

P.S. In case you have been deprived S'mores here is the basic recipe.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer Reading

Ah, summer. Finally we have some gorgeous weather and as I have a little bit of time to build on and refine our Presentation Skills sessions for the Fall I have found a great resource. Scott Burkun's Confessions of a Public Speaker is refreshingly honest and simple. The disclaimer at the beginning sets just the right tone, "This book is highly opinionated, personal, and full of behind-the-scenes stories. You may not like this. Some people like seeing how sausage is made, but many do not."

Regardless of whether or not you enjoy seeing sausage being made, if you have ever had to appear in front of an audience and had any feelings of confusion or unease this is a very humorous but helpful way to look at some of the issues and practicalities in presenting. His website has lots of examples of his work, so enjoy the summer and get readin'!