Patsie McCandless
“Can We Save the Magic of Childhood?”
TEDxWilmington Workshop // May 2018

Patsie McCandless for TEDxWilmington

Meet the Speakers: Patsie McCandless for TEDxWilmington
Hah-hah-hah-hah-hah- clunk! I just laughed my head off.

What was I thinking? A TEDx TALK? Serious endeavor, sober realization, earnest application. I must get to work! But since my head has fallen off, I am spending a great deal of time looking for it. I think it has been off dreaming on its own. I am such a dreamer.

Once my dreams have found their way into my journey, it is so thrill-digging to help them find their way into reality: I come from a place where dreams are born. We all do. The dreams bubble up like fireflies…and come through time and space, searching for the dreamer… the one who will set the dream aglow… forever.

Forever. A TEDx talk is forever.

Hmmm. That reminds me of the best of the TEDx talks. And I have watched my share of TEDx talks! And read the enduring stories of TEDx talks by Chris Anderson and Carmine Gallo. Inspiration incarnate!

Well, there it is: a dream bubbling up inside my being: I shall – I will – enter the legendary arena of TEDx. Now my head is finding itself. Remembering. My dreams. My imagination. My inspirations.

Yes. Let me contribute –-share – partake – in being and becoming. Let me resonate with the energies of people who are pondering, seeking and finding the endless flowing energies of thought. Ideas in the making: changing and expanding our Universe, one idea – one life – at a time. Perhaps never fully knowing who – or how – or why – we have touched another.

This requires sharpening, refining, polishing all my ideas. Into my one true thing. To share with the world. Now there is a thought that is overwhelming.

Back to the journey. The deadline is waiting for me. Pick up my head. Forward and rising!


The TEDx process: Patsie McCandless for TEDxWilmington

Thrill! Relief! The first draft for my 12 minute video is complete! But. But… I haven’t stopped second-guessing myself since!

My words. My point. My clarity. Such a process! This is already a journey for the ages! Jotting. Outlining. Filling-in. My storytelling. My lessons-learned. Encapsulating my message.

Hmmm. It’s burgeoning! I know… I’ll color code my notes to delineate the parts; get a better look at what I’m trying to impart.

Read it out loud. Try it on an audience. (Hah! I heard once that Honest criticism is hard to take. Especially from a spouse, relative, friend, acquaintance or stranger!) Well. Change this. Clarify that. All right. Try recording it. Golly-gee-whilakers! 12 minutes is a long time for my husband to hold the camera.

He exits. I get a step-ladder and rig-up the camera. I see the video timer. Oh no! My talk is way over the time limit! Well, let’s see…. Shorten that long story.

Record. Still too long!

Oh all right – I’ll cut out… um… that little story. Cut – cut – cut! Hmmm… I love that history lesson… But…. SNIP!  Record. Heavy sigh. So… lose that quote. Record. Again.

Ah! It’s working. I can see the clock! It’s under 12 minutes! All good! So good! Keep talking! That is when my husband opens the door! I raise my voice – almost shouting my words!  (My voice – my tone – is pleading: Oh please don’t interrupt! Oh please be quiet!)

He heard my thoughts! I smile as I finish my video.  Hallelujah! It’s under 12! I watch it. I send it in to the TEDx Talk organization. Now… I’m second-guessing. I need distance…time. To mull. And feel my way back to my one true thing –

– and re-re-re-write.

Before I get out the camera – and that ladder – once again.


Reflecting: Patsie McCandless for TEDxWilmington

Patsie McCandless for TEDxWilmingtonAppreciation: Such bright lights I found atTEDxWilmington in Delaware in May, 2018. I have such keen thanks and appreciation for ALL:

TEDxWilmington tribe: … yes… everything they do to ensure that each speaker finds their way, to shine on the that red carpet. Director – Ajit Mathew George – generous, thoughtful, encouraging; and his crew of angels, from lighting and sound engineers to the accommodating volunteers; and most especially, the always present, always composed, always observant co-producers, Kelsey Guinnup and Evan Bartle; as well, Alessandra Nicole, photographer and blog editor; and the amazing coaches, Geoffrey Berwind & Laura Harrison. So many, many details – deadlines – changes – surprises! And every single person in the Tribe handles it all with such grace and aplomb. Unflappable. Indefatigable. Imperturbable. And the hosts.

Intensity: Acute. The entire journey. The deadlines. The process. From application to acceptance; writing to rewriting; finessing to memorizing; videos to polishing. And the surprising, grateful perception that the very process has given me the power, prepared me, for the true – real – intensity: the TEDxWilmington stage. The red carpet.

My rehearsal realization that I need to be specific with my data: spell-out the what, and particularly the where, of certain institutions. I had an inner-chortling, Monty Python moment: -“What… is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?” -“What do you mean? An African or European swallow?”

Backstage I have another Monty Python moment: -“Run away! Run away!”

I look down at my feet. Thinking: “Well… I’m not dead”!  But…- “I don’t want to get on the cart!” (stage) “Oh don’t be such a baby!” Gurgle-giggle. Breathe. -“Stay u-u-u-p”!

 TEDx DAY Participation: A calm, comforting flow is created for each speaker. Reminding us all to enjoy the moment. Enjoy one another. Have fun.

On stage, it is almost an out-of-body experience as I speak. Words come out of my mouth at will: light – energy – magic – human-to-human connections. Oh! Golly-gee-whillakers!! That’s what this whole experience is about! Our human-to-human connections. It IS magic!

I am reaching into the audience, feeling their generous response.

And when I finish, there is the astonishing delight of applause. I see people standing. Smiling. Clapping. It is overwhelming. And, how many of those shining faces greet me with handshakes and hugs, sharing their own appreciations. Amazing!

Touch: Yes. I have touched others – in that beautiful Light of our human-to-human connection. And they have touched me. Every single person: supportive, encouraging. I saw it. Felt it. Know it. Each speaker has a magic. A gift. To share with the world. And the TEDxWilmington tribe, Wilmington, DE knows how to light up that magic. Just so. And now, all these gifts will be shared. With the whole world. I am filled with never-ending thanks.

“Always look on the bright side of life!”  (MP)

Patsie McCandless is a 30 year educator, lifelong artist and musician, mother and grandmother. She is the author of an uplifting children’s novel: Becoming Jesse – celebrating the everyday magic of childhood. She exhibits her award-winning Paper art and Miniatures at the Museum of Fine Art, St. Petersburg, Florida, where she also lectures. Her art is featured in the permanent collection of the St. Petersburg Opera Company.