Updated: Jan 2, 2020
Ursula The Informer & The Squawk of Warning
As I humbly and passionately prepare for my next public speech, thoughts and inspirations craft the shape of a cohesive message. I take into account recent experiences and conduct extensive research to evidence points and shape remarks. I hope to inspire others to take meaningful action, to be brave and never lose hope.
There will be laughter, excitement, pain, passion and sacrifice reflected in my words. I can't wait to see the crowd and hoping for a good response because the things I have to say are not easy to hear. Delivery is crucial to the performance of a public speech.
I have been a musician my entire life. Out on a stage before it was even my desire to be there. Standing solo and vulnerable in front of a theater filled with people so silent you could hear a pin drop, my amplified voice and guitar booming out. Scared to death. Instead of being supported for being brave in front of a huge crowd, if I cowered, students would laugh and call me a "chicken", especially those who wanted to see me bomb.
Decades later, I had turned out a boatload of stuff and enjoyed many successes and the respect of my peers. Learning to transition I found tactical endeavors that made my musical talents and skills useful to others. Mixing, mastering, sound editing, scoring films, creating monsters and Foley, textures and soundscapes. I was good at it because I loved it. The average person however, and many even in the film industry, do not actually comprehend or regard the sound process and the thousands of hours it can take to create a full post audio production sound package. People could also be quite rude and dismissive.
Alternatively, I could spend a few hours embroidering a primitive looking chicken on a kitchen hand towel and it would be seen everyday and revered for decades. It would give and receive warmth, laughter, love, create memories and bring thousands of smiles, and . . . it was useful.
A Chicken on a Kitchen Towel
Chickens are incredible creatures. Hens have hilarious and emotional group drama and sometimes they are abusive, mean girls. They go about commenting during their hunts, broadcast cackling after laying an egg they are proud of, and constantly chattering quietly on their daily discoveries about the yard. They nag and peck one another, fight for space on their perches, and they are brutal killers. Swift and ruthless. They explore, love to run about and be free, and if something isn't right with their food or water source, they will come to the door and screech loudly. Chickens have feelings in those little pea brains and they are easily distracted, easily alarmed and some chickens become neurotic. A farm fresh egg is a delightful color and brings many smiles to the kitchen. Chickens are miniature dinosaurs with a fierce look in their eyes. They also make a big damn mess.
Photo Bomb Courtesy of Persephone the Chicken
Chickens respond to kindness and they like to be held. They are rabid fiends for grapes and will jump straight up for one. I am happy to be the grape lady. I am their protector and caretaker. The reward is the joy of watching them scurry after me around the yard anticipating their next snack, or treat. This lasts until they get distracted by something they can kill.
Persephone, Ursula and Hypatia Jumping for the Grape Lady
Pecking Order Drama Queens-Persephone and Snowball
But this brings me back to my speech which is about squaring off with and countering a determined predator. I find my metaphor in my chickens: The word "chicken" is used to mock and shame people for their fears in life. People who are "chickens", well, they look away and cower when challenged and confronted. Real chickens however, do not cower. They run towards the action and they only run in fear when their lives are immediately threatened by a cunning fox or a racoon, or if they are about to be stepped on. A faster animal catches the chicken by surprise when it is too late. A predator will rip them to pieces if I, their protector, fail to adequately secure their house before dark, or keep the fox out of the yard.
I think about how the predator is not going to stop being the predator, and the chicken will always be the chicken. Humans could take a lesson from the vulnerable chicken. We could accept that predators are real and patiently lie waiting to strike when we are unprotected and unaware. Humans can learn from the defenseless chicken who is easy prey and often unaware of a circling predator. The chicken is oblivious and vulnerable until it is too late and it is terrorized and slowly ripped to shreds by the night raccoon's claws.
Being oblivious will get you killed. However, also like the chicken, we can with bravery run towards the action. Be ruthless and swift if we must. Run free and explore, but at least be the voice of warning like my delicate but loud Ursula the Informer, may she rest in peace. We can indeed be brave, just like a Chicken.
Ending on an uplifting note. Here is a little video on a Day in the Life of Chickens.