Public Speaking

How the h/ll did this many days go by without writing? Yes, yes busy autumn days. Planting, vending…fall is the second spring for a nurserywoman.


Wait, wait. I am certainly a non-linear speaker (ask anyone who knows me well), and at times, I am non-linear writer. So, hear this: spell check tagged “nurserywoman” but not “nurseryman”.

Nurserywoman is clunky, I agree, but I am no nurseryman.

Back to walking the line…or writing on the line…


I went down to Philly with a friend, who helped me find parking, making a complex parking decision, and carry a couple crates of plants along South Street to Wooden Shoe Books.

She asked if we should bring extra layers. “Nah, I’ll be sweaty during my talk.” “Do you get nervous?” she asked.

No, not really nervous, not exactly, maybe amped up. Buzzy. Keyed up. If I could, I would do martial arts for a half hour prior to a talk. Just to burn up some heat.

The crowd was nice. I liked them and hoped they liked me. There were many young, very young, people. Mid-twenties, I guess. I love that age. I remember that age. So intense. I enjoy being around people, really of all ages, but the twenties…they are great.

It’s certainly the first time someone wore a Dropdead t-shirt to one of my native plant talks. In fact, I do not believe anyone has ever worn any DIY punk or hardcore shirts to any of my talks.

It was good. I was in the right place. I have long felt that it was time to connect with a different world. Or, perhaps to connect two of my familiar and beloved worlds (the plant world and the DIY/punk/radical world).


Sometimes, after I give I talk, sometimes before, but usually after because that’s when I’ve gained trust, if I have gained trust, someone approaches me and tells me a piece of their story. Sometimes, the story, even though it is just a piece, is a big story.

I want to let you know that I heard the piece of your big story and it stuck with me. I hope you get what you need. I hope you get what you need beyond someone hearing your story.

Maybe it’s because I am keyed up and open, completely vulnerable to the crowd, but those big stories stick.

If I forget, I am sorry. Maybe it’s because I was keyed up and distracted. Not able to pause and listen. That piece of a big story, it matters.