Ladies and gentlemen …


15 minutes.  Jesus.

15 minutes is … well, it depends on delivery.  Most people speak 120-150 words per minute.  Which is what … like, 1800-2250 words?  I should probably aim for the slow/low end of things, but you know … nerves.

Shit.  Okay … well.  I wrote a 15-minute speech a couple of months ago, and that took me … um … what … a day-and-a-half?  Yeah.  Got the call Tuesday night, started Wednesday morning, delivered by Thursday noon.  So realistically it was about 10 hours?  Then I did one last week — that ran longer but they also gave me more to work with.  Either way, I should budget at least 10 hours for writing, plus another five or so for research.

Wait a second — do we even know what the topic is?  Five hours is not going to cut it unless I’m talking about something I already have some understanding of, and even then, I’m totally out of my depth on most stuff anyway.  I’m a woman; I don’t think I can knowledgeably talk about feminism for 15 minutes.  Well, depends on the audience.  Do we know who the audience is?

Yes, I know it’s “the whole world,” but only half of us are awake at any given time.  Oh Lord … they know I can only speak English, right?  I don’t care if there is simultaneous interpretation but I don’t want to make a culturally inappropriate joke.

What do you mean, “I shouldn’t tell jokes?”  15 minutes is a long time to go without a laugh.  Have you ever seen those graphs of presidential speeches?  Talk, laugh, clap, talk, talk, laugh … there’s like a whole frickin’ science to it.  Okay, okay, I can do it straight.  I’m telling you, though, if CNN airs this and there’s a panel and they give them those dially-knob things, they’re going to flatline three minutes in.  For the record.

Listen: I can write this. I can do it.  And I can deliver it.  This isn’t completely foreign territory, it’s just been awhile.  I just need a little more information about the topic, the audience, formats, some basic stuff.  And deadline.  I have to build out a production schedule, so I need to know when this is going to go to air.

I’m sorry … can you repeat that?

So when you said “I have 15 minutes to address the whole world,” you didn’t mean that I have to talk for 15 minutes, like, next week, you meant that I have 15 minutes to prep, like, right now.

15 minutes.  Jesus.

This post brought to you by my ceaseless inner monologue, and today’s daily prompt, fifteen minutes.


  1. Some of my exact thought processes on this post, right down to the word count. To write fifteen minutes of good words would take hours to hone and edit.


  1. […] Ladies and gentlemen … – Joy and Woe […]

  2. […] Ladies and gentlemen … – Joy and Woe […]

  3. […] Ladies and gentlemen … – Joy and Woe […]

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I think we can all agree that life is but one ceaseless test and that I am single-handedly responsible for pulling down the average.

I think we can all agree that life is but one ceaseless test and that I am single-handedly responsible for pulling down the average.


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