The TED experience

img_1896So it has been quite a day. I did not make it through the whole thing to the bitter end — so, alas, I only got to hear Taylor Dayne sing once today. But anyway, my TED talk went great! I was up early to be to hair and make-up by 6:45. After getting my full-on fake eyelashes (supposedly they look good on camera) I got my oh-so-TED face microphone, and then went on stage as speaker #2 for the day.

Everything went off without a hitch. I had a great time speaking with the audience. They laughed in all the right places! The video was streamed live to hundreds of TEDx events going on simultaneously, but the video itself may take a few months to go up online. I will be sure to spread it far and wide when it goes live.

After my session, I signed 100 copies of my book, and then sat back to listen to the other sessions of the day. There were many great speakers, but I think the one that will stay with me longest was a joint speech from Thordis Elva, and Tom Stranger, co-authors of a book called South of Forgiveness that will be out next year. The two met in Iceland when she was 16 and he was an exchange student from Australia. They went to a dance together, she remembers drinking a little bit and having a bad reaction to it, and him offering to take her home — a situation that ended in a rape she described in its full brutality as he was standing there on stage with her. Those hours then wound up haunting both of them for decades. At a low point she wrote him a letter about it and he responded. The two corresponded for years and wound up meeting in South Africa to talk through and process what had happened. It was an incredibly challenging speech to listen to — to know this young man had done something horrible years ago, and yet listening to him talk and her talk there was still so much humanity in it all. If the book is anything like the speech, I will be sharing that one broadly.

As an introvert, I find that conferences can get a bit tiring as I make small talk all day. I love meeting new people, but it can be draining. So I left the dinner prior to the Taylor Dayne performance. She had spoken during the day, so I heard her sing then. I need to live to fight another day (and take the red-eye back tomorrow). I did make sure to take this photo with the TED logo though. It’s a good souvenir.

12 thoughts on “The TED experience

  1. Our TEDx team watched the live stream last night (UK time) and were so so moved by thordis and Tom. So powerful. Then I made us rewind to session one because I’ve read and love your books and am sharing them round :). Well done on a polished performance!

  2. Congrats, Laura, this is a great achievement! I really would love to hear the speech – please do share it as soon as it’s up. The other speech you mentioned sounds like it would have been very emotionally draining. I’m not sure how I feel about forgiveness in those sorts of circumstances. Of course, it is usually healing for the victim, so it’s good in that sense. But I guess I’m a bit of a hard-ass on the perpetrator. Not sure he deserves to be let off the hook. But anyway, having not heard the speech at all, I suppose I can’t really comment.

  3. Congratulations, Laura! So glad to hear all went well. I’m excited to hear your talk when it’s available.

  4. Congratulations Laura! We cannot wait to hear it.
    Regarding the other speech- what a novel way to approach sexual violence prevention. I am sure it was draining to hear, but I enjoy these books/stories that challenge me on very emotional topics. The truth is that many of us hear these stories and fear for our girls, telling them how exactly not to be assaulted, which is impossible. We have to have the men on board to combat this problem. Men teaching other men/boys about consent and how not to assault- that will be the key.

    1. @Virginia- she had a great line in there, about first wondering what she’d done wrong, and later realizing the only thing that could have stopped her from being raped that night was the man who raped her.

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