Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How to Play the "Hello, My Name Is..." Game?

Have you ever been at one of those discussions or workshops where the instructor introduces him or herself and then asks everyone to do the same, suggesting questions to answer in your short spiel about yourself?

I call this the "Hello, My Name Is..." game.

I love those mini segments of showtime and I pride myself in doing a pretty good job at it. But the time leading up to my turn drives me crazy! I get so nervous from simultaneously trying to listen to what others have to say and coming up with an original and humorous plug for myself.

I was at a creative writing workshop one time and the leader asked, "What do you want to write about?"

As we went around the room, I heard people saying, "fantasy, mystery and children fiction" (e.g. Harry Potter, Twilight), "commentary in the form of creative non-fiction" (e.g. Five People You Meet in Heaven, Freakonomics) and "historical fiction" (e.g. Da Vinci Code, The Book Thief). Some even went into the intricacies of their childhood that made them interested in the genre, a book that moved them deeply, how they want to write something for their children to read or they just had too much time on their hands.

All noble, respectable and artistic motivations in pursuing creative writing.

But neither original nor humorous, two qualities I focus on each time I play the "Hello, My Name Is..." game.

Alas, my time has come!

"Hello, my name is Stehajh. Wow. Ymm... I ajut waot to wjtse wtiahevkr meike ormey. So I gkesa... tkes-leph, lextbsahs and eyoci ejiction itlw eb tglit ip mi akkej."

I get so nervous when it's my turn that I could've said that, sure. But I didn't. The inner entertainer in my takes over and goes:

"Hello, my name is Stephen. Wow. Umm... I just want to write whatever makes money. (pause for laughter) So I guess... self-help, textbooks and erotic fiction will be right up my alley."

And scene.

Laughter ensues and we all have a giggle at Stephen for being a silly bunny because nobody writes to make money.

At least nobody in the workshop (pause for misdirection) is willing to admit it.

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