My TED Story
Back in May, I was chosen as a finalist for the TED2013 Global Talent Search. I recently performed my glimpse of a TED Talk in New York City for past TED speakers & supporters. TED will be using the comments & ratings of viewers to make their decision on who from this talented pool of speakers will travel to the actual TED Talks in 2013. You can view the talk HERE. I would appreciate the support if you feel moved or compelled to act after viewing the talk. Thank you for always being a support to my trade. It never goes unnoticed.
The TED Talks are kind of like the slick discovery that the yellow brick road didn’t crumble into nonexistence at the age of twelve.
It’s all the feelings I would have opened my arms to if Dorothy ended up being real & she decided that she liked me so much that she wanted to take me out for Starbucks regularly and let me eat pancakes & sip mimosas with her and the scarecrow at Sarah Beth’s on Sunday mornings before trotting around Central Park with ToTo and cheering on the Lion at a divey comedy club later that night.
Sidenoter to the Strangeness I just piled upon you--I was a diehard Oz fan who put her memorabilia away in the attic when boys & gossip sashayed into my life at the age of twelve. Parts of me ached knowing that I couldn’t dec my locker out with flying monkey magnets.
Speaking at TED was like unearthing all the original 1939 treasures from the attic. All the autographs from munchkins I’ve collected (yes, I am sitting on a goldmine that my One Day, Some Day Husband & I will one day giggle over). The scripts my dad has bartered for at auctions. Unleashing all the ways it felt to collect my own parts of Oz and feel home among the poppies & talking trees.
It was a chance to don ruby reds and encounter people who are rocking out in all aspects of life. The chance to sling arms with people in the fields of science & technology, innovation & inspiration, and huddle under this one massive umbrella: Ideas Worth Spreading.
I’ll go back to April:
I first discovered the TED2013 Global Talent Search back in March. I’d been digesting the talks on a daily basis for the last year and decided I was gunning for it. Me & my Love Letters were going (I am grammatically incorrect but it sounds better this way... so I don't care). I shot a short video. I was very awkward. I gave them the best 60 seconds of me that has ever existed & something must have worked.
I was asked to come into TED offices to live audition. Live audition to me meant a panel of 4 people, not a legitimate TED Salon in a divey + poetic pub in New York City packed to the edges with past TED speakers & people who have sung inspiration into my bones for the last year of my life. Yea… that often happens. Sure… Sure… Right.
The lot of them are brilliant. If you think the Talks are brilliant, you'll be socked heavy with the reality that each of them are brilliant-- especially the ones who whole TED together.
I met astounding TED worker bees, the ones who tirelessly give + give + give to keep the culture of TED throbbing with the passion & innovation it seems to wear so effortlessly like a leather jacket. I conversed with individuals who are literally leaking with good ideas. Yes, I was close to the brink of asking, "Can I hold out a towel for you, sir? You are leaking greatness all over the place and I think we should mop it up to wring out for later." I formed friendships. I even made a pen pal.
More than anything—I felt like I came home.
It is a very hard thing to strap words to, a feeling I haven’t called by name yet. But every instance of my TED experience--the onstage closeness, the feeling you were chatting over a cup of coffee with friends-- felt as though the lights came on. As if I’d walked from the backyard through the screen door and gathered close around family, around people who wanted to chat about crazy ideas & fantastical ways of changing the world. As if you were the son who won the spelling bee for a moment and people just wanted to cheer you on, and support you, and hoist you on their shoulders and snake you around the room. As if I was suddenly submerged in this place where 15 year olds find the cure for pancreatic cancer & we all find a half-life & it’s sacred and beautiful. That I didn’t have to go home.
That I was the alternate ending for a Dorothy who thought Kansas had fit her just fine but that Oz was new territory she wanted to stick with for a while because it made all the parts of her no longer feel guilty for singing of rainbows & the Somewheres that lurked over them. There were miles ahead & she was ready for it.
& so she decided to never click her heels and go back.
Other Talks to Straight Up Devour
A Surpriseologist at heart, meeting Tania at the TED Offices was just that—the most pleasant surprise I’ve stumbled into in a very long while.
Poised with grace & a remarkable knack for storytelling, Tania lit up the stage & then pulled me out from my own nerves and head games. She led me to a vacant stairwell and, with tears in both of our eyes, she let me practice and soak in the truth she gave me: this was my story. My story. My story.
“Here,” she said, handing me a pendant. STRENGTH engraved in the silver. I tucked the good luck charm of someone who was just a stranger yesterday into my pocket and marched onstage with my mail crate.
She claims to give free hugs. So she claims. And yet, when Kristin hugged me, it felt as though she had been saving it up for years. As if she had hung it neatly in a closet for several decades before taking it off the hanger and giving it to me. Warm & Safe. Delicate & True. Not an ounce of fabrication or personal gain to it. She simply wants to give the world to other people.
I’ve tried to find the words for Adrian. Like a child scouring the fields for a lost earring or some other gem, I’ve looked for the words that will glisten in the sun enough for this man and the treasure he blesses each of us with. A talented musician and beautiful spirit—Adrian poured some sort of sunlight into my inbox the morning after TED and I haven’t been the same since. Adrian doesn't know it yet, but I plan to lure him into violin lessons & coffee dates & maybe I'll teach him to write a love letter or two (hi Adrian!)
Bless your day with his gift. Bless it, folks.
Make no mistake, every single person on the TED NYC stage was talented and loaded with a story only they could tell. You should watch every talk. You should cheer every & each of them on.
They are that good.
I feel that blessed.
My talk will be online and open for comments and ratings until August 31. I would greatly appreciate the ratings and comments if the talk moves you, if you think there is still more for me to deliver at TED2013 in February. Thank you + thank you + thank you.