That was printed as an expression of optimism from me. Just finished my PhD and was between those two works.
Yes, I have been researcher at CNRS of Gif for 4 years,
but my contract was not renewed any more.
Yes, I have been promised a year contract as Visiting Fellow at NIH in Bethesda, but the official paper needed for the visa did not arrive yet.
Finally, last minute it did arrive, and I did work there for three years, as each year I got yet another year contract.
It was not easy, as for 7 years, my next year work was not assured and I had to be very optimist to believe it will work out at the end and I will get the next contract.
Till, 1980, when it did not. I had to go back to France, look for work and, finally, all my life changed and from Research Chemist I become Company Founder and leader and Apple products importer and distributor, in the middle of the most exciting years of the growing personal computer industry.
It is great to be optimist and not worry too much of the future, even if it is not always easy to do so, when you are head of the family as I was. And, when it does not go as you expect, it can happen, as it did with me that something new wonderful waits for you at the end of one path of the tunnel.
It was from the beginning a decision to tell this story from the eyes of a ten years old me, and do not relate how I see it now with knowledge not even from what I learned a year later.
Another big decision was to add to it a part about "now" and link it with "holding hands" with the past: that leaves all with a warm feeling and also a non told but important second message.
Toastmasters to whom I told this story in my different clubs (it was each time from a project Manual speech), and asked advice, all gave me very useful advices.
Where should I stretch to hold the suspense longer, where should I change my face and make more pause, for example. Joanna Yates, producer of Spark London, helped me a lot to shorten and cut from my long initial beginning where I talked, for this story at least, a lot more of my cousin.
Telling it some other time, perhaps I could add back as different blocks can be taken out usually and added depending of the circumstances. But this story I told so many times that I learned it as is, and last year as I went to give a keynote in AYR, West of Scotland, I met two young women on the train and told them the story. It went so easy and they were fascinated.
By those attending, by those doing such a promotion, by those preparing it, by those participating.
The audience laughed, a lot, why? How may I do when I want them to laugh? I discovered Standup Comedy, took classes, and went to open mic clubs. Got awards and lots of laughter.
Now after 77+ performances? I can tell : I had funny bones I did not know about! Plus at any frustration I now look: how can I present it look at it with comedian eyes.
Will I be able to retell this in only 7 minutes instead of 11? What should I cut? Finaly, they let me tell almost all of the story.
Yesterday, March 25, they told me I can cut the first three minutes! I'll try it thus. But I have to add the motivation: 'I want my son back' then later that I did. And perhaps, at the end, mention him again, so the end matches the beginning. Instead of 'microcomputer' use 'personal computer'. Instead of 'cave' use 'cellar in the garden'.
There is a video from another angle of my performance (one taken by my family and the other by organiser), alas I was more facing the audience then the videographer.
In fact, I told it first, 4 year ago in the middle of the deep recession, as Mystery Speaker to a Toastmasters club near Victoria Station. At that time the title must have been "think outside the box" to show that we could look at all we know and like not only at a job or profession description of us.
This storytelling November 2010 was a pivotal experience for me, because the audience laughed a lot and I decided to learn how to make humour - when I want! I found my first Stand Up Comedy Workshop at the Comedy School. Then, the second Standup & Deliver, and then later the same year the third, with David Jones. After then, at age 77 I went out to the Comedy Circuit "at least 20 he told us".
As to now, beginning 2014 I have performed more then 77 times as Standup, and have also given many many other true stories together with other storytellers at Spark.
One of the "secrets" is to go out not to "win" but to try out something new, challenge yourself to experiment each time something. It is very useful, at least at the beginning to take video and see yourself.
That is how I realised that I run out to fast in Mistaken Identity, I hid from the lights another times, and I realised the next time when I do not hide, fast my eyes get used and I forget about lights in my eyes.
Another time, Johanna told me "you move too much" and yes, again I was to avoid the strong reflectors, next time after my opening sentence I sit down and gave all using voice variety and face. It was a very successful performance: "you looked straight to me when you told the stories!" - I did not tell her that in the dark of the audience I could not see anyone other then the first row.
Going out like there are our friends, not as we go to the "lions den", and even speaking with some before and becoming nearer is important. After you have spoken, they seem to be nearer you, and you to all audience through them and react more, better.
Go to http://www.youtube.com/user/sparklondon to see other storytellers too!
November 2012 after a refreshment workshop with the Comedy School.
I opened the show, alas I was allowed only seven minutes from ten prepared. But of course, one has to adapt each time.
This year I had my ten minutes at "Old folks jokes" but I do not have yet its video recording. And now, 10' also opening at Ivor Dembina's 'you should have listened to Ivor'. Went very well, made those present laugh a lot.
New tips to look for when you look at it the second time.
Listen to how I begin.
First recognising what everyone can see: I am old. (Later, then I am not English, but Hungarian.) It is good to recognise what they see and hear, then of course comes the surprises.
In my case proving that we old are "open minded" surprising those listening with 4 letter words.
Finally, toping by telling the tale about my daughter and she "not being there". That connects to all.
"Toping" is adding to a punch line without necessity to introduce, it also give it a more impromptu feeling. Like you just invented it, now for this audience. I top even more at the end.
Be aware that nor in Comedy or in Storytelling do you have to stick to the exact truth about time, names, durations, for example. It is very important to be "in the moment" - so my daughter really called me - but it was more then a year before, so what? I told it first the day it happened.
It is not important when other then make it seem more "fresh".
I still tell from time to time "I am 77" and it seems sexier year, easier to remember then 78 or 79.
Observe how I finish.
I segue with what come before, "I am a bit out of practice now, but" and 'top" again then give my most outrageous sentence. It work very well every time. But then, I do not stop but top it and top it, usually getting big laughs after laughs for the end. It is best to leave your best working part to the end, your second best at the beginning.
Note, that I found the sentence after six hours of workshop at Camden with Ivor Dembina, who probed deep into what is we do not tell usually because "that is what the audience is interested is enjoying best". I hesitated for three month until I first tried it out. It does work each time.
Added to the routine (and make it grow with new frustrations)
There are some added parts that come the first here, from frustrations I got recently, just a little before I performed this, November 2012, of my teeth.
I also added the routine about my eyes (is it in this yet?) Later, I found a better way to introduce my Kindle (not in this performance yet). It does get a huge laughter as I talk about "size is import - sometimes" and let the audience think first of something else, as just before it I added a part that is about a message I got on Facebook. (see my later gigs for that).
Observe how I go from one part to the other.
Just before I performed I was told that I have to do only 7 minutes not 10 as I was promised. I had to cut some parts. Because the routine has been made in Parts, I could leave out some. But is is more difficult then as usually I put a word at the end of a routine to trigger in me and remind the next part.
All audience is not as receptive as this was. Sometimes parts go better or less depending whom listens.