Toastmasters are Writers!
Little did I know that my Toastmaster’s journey would take me to the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking in Vancouver in 2017.
Stories – Toastmasters tell beautiful stories for the International Speech Contest, don’t they? Well, then, that makes us writers. That’s what I thought as I went for an interview, two years after my World stage experience. It was for the 2019 Own Voices Alberta writing program held by the Alexandra Writers Centre and Writers Guild of Alberta. As I practised my table topics skills during the interview, I felt outwardly calm and confident while inside I thought, “Wait, I’ve only had 2 poems published 20 years ago.” Nonetheless, my Toastmasters skills and writing experience as a Toastmaster sealed the deal – I was accepted into the program and wrote my novel, Letters to Singapore, in 100 days.
Letters to Singapore
Letters to Singapore, published by Stonehouse Publishing, came out in May 2022. It has been launched in Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, and Vancouver. I even launched my novel at the Ubud Writers Festival in Bali, Indonesia in October 2022. I’ve been invited to be on CBC, podcasts around the world, interviews, and book launches. All I can say is Toastmasters is my saving grace – my experiences as a Toastmasters automatically came to the forefront, and I was able to handle all and any stressful and challenging speaking engagements with the grace and panache that Toastmasters cultivate. I’ve won the District 42 Table Topics Contest 4 times, and, believe me, I used every ounce of experience garnered from the contest in the real world!
I can do this!
Sometimes, I pinch myself when I see the unchartered journey of my speaking and writing trajectory. When I was writing speeches for Toastmasters speeches, I homed in on the different styles of writing. When I wrote my novel, poems, short stories, and nonfiction while cooped up during Covid, I felt the same sense of “I can do this!”
Today, I have poems and Letters to Singapore going to the Moon on the Nova Mission in June 2023 and the Griffin Mission in 2024. I have had my poems translated into Spanish and published in South America. I have poems at the International Human Rights Arts Festival in New York and in North Dakota. I have short stories and nonfiction pieces in anthologies around the world.
I have just finished a children’s book on the first Sikh Calgary pioneer and rancher, coming out in Spring 2024 (Howdy, I’m Harnam Singh Hari), and I am working on my next book.
In April 2023, I was shortlisted across Canada from 500 immigrants down to 75 for the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award. Now, I am in the last stage till June 9, 2023, and votes will help me to make it to the Top 25.
I am living my impossible dream, and I genuinely value and thank my Toastmasters’ experience and background for giving me the courage and determination to live my passion. That one first step to join Toastmasters has literally taken me to the Moon!
Quick steps to vote:
It will be wonderful if you vote for me to get me into the Top 25.
It is a simple 20-second process of clicking on the link below, scrolling down to my pic, clicking under it, scrolling to the end, putting in your email and clicking the “Vote Now” button.