24/05/2017

Two month ago begun my first Path

It seems so far now, but it really was only two month ago. I become member of the Great Communicators club, not far from where I lived once and my daughter still lives. And by this membership, I also become member of the district that is the second pilot for the Toastmasters International new educational program, now called Pathways.

A program more tailored to our needs but still having grows pains.

Had of course problems with its wrinkles, "you wanted to be an early adapter? those are the consequences!" someone wrote me when I complained. True, even if it did hurt when I heard it.

Once I went through, struggled through, finished my Icebreaker, Pathways style, I had to wait. Wait? I could not even read farther till my "Base Camp Manager" approved it!

Are we in elementary school?

Once I was through, I was delighted, and whatever happened on the way, did stay delighted. I love all what I learned in these two month. I love the new education it offered me. I love the new thoughts and opportunities.

I do love the new Pathways program.
If going from Level 1 once I finished all its tasks to Level 2 was again a problem, and also getting the certificate for that level, when I finished the second, I already "knew" and got through to have the certificate all by myself. As a big girl. I am now enjoying Level 3 with so many electives. I have to chose only two of them, I already did, but read through many others too.

I can also see better now how well constructed the path are. Read a few wonderful books. Offered some great stories. And some less great probably, too. Learned on the way.

But for details on that I opened my new blog Pathways Experience.

04/05/2017

Pathways: A blog for Pathways? No, about my experience of it...

I opened a new blog! It is Thursday 4th May 2017

I opened first, 2004 a blog about my life, in French, to prove there is life after 70. Did. For ten years, writing day by day, I build an audience about 200. But living in London, slowly I let it go, when you do not publish regular, you loose your audience.

Later, I published RetroBlog, translating all my diaries from age 10 to 70 into it. It is still there, but I stopped, realising I begun to write diary for exterior and not myself. There are two different needs and ways and I need that intimate contact with some other part of me.

Then, from 2010 this blog about my storytelling, then standup comedy, and I added whatever i found interesting about communication. Even a bit, but not much about my Online Club activities.

Today, a new blog is born: about the Toastmasters New Educational Program! About how I experience it, still very personal. Personal stories are my communication style...

Pathways: A blog for Pathways http://pathwaysexperience.blogspot.co.uk?
No, about my experience of it..

I have been Pathways Ambassador for more then a year and went to my designated clubs to tell them: "REP is coming!" Spoke finally more of what was created by Smedlay and what was in CC manual. Very little could I tell yet about the actual new program!

Now, I can. And chose to open a blog about my Pathways Experience.

25/04/2017

On Becoming a Stand-up Comedienne at 77 Years Young



I am not sure if I already have it in my blog?
One of my preferred movies about me, lately
beside that done for Goldsmith University

"do not put yourself into a box"

21/04/2017

Mistaken identity?

 I begun to tell the story of how I changed profession late in life, 3 year ago, in the middle of the recession when too many were afraid to loose their job and find something new.

Each time, perhaps the "most important thing" can be not the same, for the same events, other parts of it came out. I begun speaking at that time of my life and relating how a book Hidden Identity, (with it's Hedonistic approach) helped me to find out what were my strongest points and what I really liked.

 In 2011 November, I told it at the Canal Cafe Theatre. The theme of the evening organized by Spark London, was "Mistaken identity", Spark published my tale with the title:

The possibilities are endless.


Observation: "cave" in French is "cellar" in English but I have mistaken it that day, my daughter lived in some kind of basement... not a real "cave" an old vine cellar in the middle of a garden. But it was really a trap door (with window on it) that was the only entrance and gave the only natural light.

But, my error just brought up more laughter from the audience...

And at the end of the evening, a young woman came to me, telling me how much my message meant to her, it was the encouragment she needed at that point of her life.

It changed, evolved, and I think, the change itself is interesting.

That was not the first time, it was perhaps the third time, as delivered it almost a year before in one of my Toastmasters club.

That story is very dear to me also as it was the first time I got so many laughter and someone told me "You are a natural" go learn standup comedy. Standup? What is that? The rest is history...

From this on, I told the story two more time correcting cave and changing a little, as I do not learn word by word. Now, I got a new view and assessment to that story and will try to tell it next week, with a new focus: Yes! I will do it. More, when I have done it.

17/04/2017

Doug Lipman workshop at Witty Storytellers P2


A video of his advices to us. Doug is not only a Master Storyteller, but a great coach too.

Long time ago, far away - #Pathways Level 1: Incorporating feedback


Told first time as "Eastern Sunday" in Witty Storytellers the 13th April
Told the second time an improved version (this one) in Firebirds Collective
after using the feedbacks from the first. Both my toastmasters online clubs,
with world wide audience.

Here on the screen, Krishn from Mauritius, me from London, Moses from New Zealand, Fabiola from Caribbean, Lorraine from Dubai. (But many others from different continents were listening even if not on the screen now. From Mexico, from Canada, from USA...

Thanks Brian, Paul, all who suggested improvement the first time!

You all could suggest me further improvements.
I read again my diaries of that time and met a very interesting courageous girl, then woman in love! So much wisdom already! Some of it that she almost forgot with time.

Alex become a year later my husband, and at age 27 we emigrated, had a girl then a boy. Only 20 years later did I get an university diploma, PhD in Chemistry from Paris. I went then to prove myself to DC - but that is yet another story.

12/04/2017

Paul White Marching Orders



in Better Said Than Done Storytelling Show
Paul E. White is a distinguished toastmaster and as you can see a master storyteller too

11/04/2017

True Tales - Julie Kertesz, Manchester Town Hall


More audience, lots of energy, easier and not more difficult to perform,
to tell my true tale of when I was 10 years old and the war caught up with me.

There were almost 500 in the huge town hall in Manchester that day.
I had some difficulty to find a "good ending", a satisfying ending to a sad tale.
Of course, "I am here to tell the tale" was already great, but I found a more touching end.

One can tell the same tale so many ways! There are all "true" but how you tell the story counts.

10/04/2017

40 years ago I was 40 & First test Spark.Adobe



I will publish here, the different takes, to show how I got through to the end.
Even if there is no "end" as a story told can be modified each time we tell it.

First, I thought that I want to tell to a club near Washington, my arrival there 40 years ago.
Then, I wrote it down in a small carnet. Then I wanted to know how long it would last, here it is.
Not wonderful flow and probably too many facts. Have to take out some and tell it more in scenes.

I published it - even if it was raw - to Facebook friends and asked for comments. What a boon! Here are some of their comments, some giving me hope for the speech other getting in detail of what I could improve. All so helpful.

Annette Flynn Like the way you work towards the positive resolution in each of the phases of adversity.

Paul E. White very interesting from a loss of confidence to refinding your voice and your confidence thanks to Toastmasters... thanks for sharing...

Deirdre Walsh Really enjoyed your story Julie. Full of passion, emotion and real heart. It touched me to the core as toastmasters has done the exact same for me. I've realised at the age of 41 I have a voice and an opinion worth hearing. Tnks for sharing

Debbierose Horoba Julie, your journey is interesting. You are a phoenix rising from the ashes after a negative first marriage. Many members will relate to your story and embrace the spin from a negative to confident positive life.

Here are a lot more detailed from my fellow online club toastmasters :
Ashwani Kumar Sinha Dear Julie, loved your story. I now know you more, and your story of life. It's very courageous of you to boldly share it with us all. You are a seasoned toastmasters, and have used every skill to enhance your speech, and it clearly shows in your body language that you have been doing this for a very very long time. Overall the speech is a perfect material for an icebreaker speech. I do have some minor suggestions for improvement:

1. The story had a rather very choppy transition - eg. Panic & read again, and then automatically you turned at finding a husband, perhaps easing into the topic could make it an optimal flow.  

2. The work - some explanation might help, as to what it was, a brief introduction.

3. Finding a husband - mention was made to find a husband in clubs, perhaps a little more description of that was the norm in those days, could help, and comedic input can be added by comparing and contrasting with today's time - as in there didn't exist tinder or eharmony.

4. The structure was little unclear - perhaps the intro by the Toastmasters can help emphasize that the speech is about your journey so far in life. It's recommended that the speech intro should include 10% of your actual speech.

5. Ending - the ending was weak, perhaps enhancing it with a closing inspiration might serve as a great message for the audience.

I loved your speech, and want to hear more from you as you progress through the pathways program. Best of luck!


Fabiola Cleofa Julie 4 min of captivating story... I just enjoyed it. Voice was low and maybe too relaxed but I grabbed my head phone and that made listening clear in fascination. I had to listen a 2nd time to note some thing to give feedback that would be for a seasoned storyteller like you as of some value. Not to go into repetition I would just refer to Ashwani's points as I had the same observation on point 1 and 4. The intro from the TM (4) will help you prepare the audience. A small blurb of 3/4 sentence explaining your journey and then pay attention to the transitions to tie the next idea to the other (1). Remember the speech outline structure cover 3 to 4 points supported by stories, anecdotes, examples.
Your first words carry a lot: Forty years ago…. I was 47… just finished my PHD. Waw… so much in few words. Very well put together.


Krishn Ramchurn Thank you for sharing part of your life, Julie. You captivated me front the start, and made me want to listen to your entire speech. You have pivotal moments in your speech, and they could have been emphasized by playing with your tone when you reached those moments. For example, when talking about your ex-partner telling you that you will not meet another potential partner in life, the time was too flat and i believe that, by varying it during that delivery, could have been used to drive forward your emotions at that time. The position of yourself against the camera (you come across as too laid back - unless that is the objective ðŸ˜Š - for a speech with valuable learning points) can be changed for added impact on your own delivery: refer to President Lorraine Taylor's past educational session on body language tips, on how to stand/sit in front of the camera and shift the body position to convey different messages. Although I enjoyed the storytelling, I could not grasp the "what's in it for me?" of the message, which I was expecting just after the 4:04:00me stamp, and was left hanging. Overall, good speech with worth-to-share messages, which could be made clear by working on the provided tips 


and here one from my photography buddy
Janice Susan julie, really enjoyed listening to this and i related to your story. i love your timing. you wanted tips for improvement! so here they are - i think you could use your hands or change your position sometimes to animate the story a little more. as well, i think your ending was slightly abrupt so i wonder if there's something you could say or use the timing (space?) in some way if that really is the last sentence. perhaps you could say something humorous, like the thing you would like to do next (something slightly crazy or challenging or even impossible - like walk on the moon!). those are my only tips because your talks are always inspiring and interesting x

-------

I did prepare and deliver a second time, a tale from the same period, more "storylike" I believe, cutting a lot, online club. Brian Dodd gave me the evaluation on the spot, the only suggestion to move more. He remarked beginning with "Why did you... " three times worked well to attract all attention. And it was funny and entertaining as well at the end, inspiring.

Then Svetlana posted this feedback on it.


Julie, what I liked most is how you intertwined Toastmasters history with a personal story - you were looking for a man and you discovered Toastmasters which had just opened for women, so, there were plenty of men and just two women. "And although all of them were well married and faithful" to their families you learned to listen, to look into the eyes and gained confidence with public speaking, which you brought eventually with you to London.
I like your pauses and facial expressions, because I think it's thanks to them, you manage to capture the attention and take us with you on a journey. Each time.
--- Still more work to do on it.
Here is another when I was standing up and telling with body movements and voice variety - part of it


And here is one created to discover also spark from Adobe while figuring out what to put and what not into the story. This only 2 minutes mostly only voice and photos.

7' Gig at Comedy School as special guest


November 2013 after a "refreshment workshop" with the Comedy School they invited me to perform at the showcase of new Standup Comedy students.

I opened the show, alas I was allowed only seven minutes from ten prepared. But of course, one has to adapt each time.

This year I had my ten minutes at "Old folks jokes" but I do not have yet its video recording. And now, 10' also opening at Ivor Dembina's 'you should have listened to Ivor'. Went very well, made those present laugh a lot.

New tips to look for when you look at it the second time.

Listen to how I begin.
First recognising what everyone can see: I am old. (Later, that I am not English, that my mother language was Hungarian.)

It is good to recognise what they see and hear. Then of course comes the surprises. In my case proving that we old folks are "open minded", surprising those listening with 4 letter words.

Finally, "toping" by telling the tale about my daughter and she "not being there". That connects to all of us who ever did something because "he or she was not there".

"Toping" is adding to a punch line without necessity to introduce, it also gives it a more impromptu feeling. Like you just invented it, now for this audience. I top even more at the end.

Be aware that nor in Comedy or in Storytelling do you have to stick to the "exact truth" about time, names, durations, for example. It is very important to be "in the moment" - so my daughter really called me - but it was more then a year before (just before my first ever standup comedy performance), so what? I told it first the day it happened and then 77+ times as it was that morning.

It is not important when, and it make seem more "fresh".

And I still tell "I am 77" it seems a sexier year, easier to remember then 78 or 79 (or now, more).

Observe how I finish.
I segue with what come before, "I am a bit out of practice now, but" and 'top" again then give my most outrageous sentence of my performance. It work very well every time. Sometimes, I got even standing ovation for it. But then, I do not stop at that but top it and top it again, usually getting laughter after laughter for the end.

It is best to leave your best working part to the end, your second best at the beginning.

I found the sentence after six hours of workshop at Camden with Ivor Dembina, who probed deep into what is we do not tell usually because "that is what the audience is interested is enjoying best".  I hesitated for three month until I first dare to try it out. It does work each time.

Added to the routine (It grows with new frustrations)
There are some added parts that were used the first in this performance, from frustrations I got just then before I performed this, about my teeth.

I also added the routine about my eyes (is it in this yet?) Later, I found a better way to introduce my Kindle (not in this performance yet). It does get a huge laughter as I talk about "Size is import - well, sometimes" and let the audience think first of something else, "I did not say it" as just before it I added a part that is about a message I got on Facebook. (See my later gigs for that).

Observe how I go from one part to the other.
Just before I performed I was told that I have to do only 7 minutes not 10 as I was promised. I had to cut some parts. Because the routine has been made in Parts, I could leave out some. But is is more difficult then. Usually I put a word at the end of a routine to trigger in me and remind the next part.

All audience is not as receptive as this was. Sometimes a part works better or less depending whom listens. That is normal, most important is all love and enjoy most of it.

08/04/2017

9 recommended books (and others) from my bookshelf

Public speaking is telling stories, using humour, presenting them all together. And conveying an old wisdom in a new way. Here a few of my favourites I studied and read again and again, Each time discovering new nuggets and understanding deeper.

1st where all starts :
The Power of Personal Storytelling, Jack Maguire
Why, how to find, how to shape, how to remember the story parts, embed it in yourself.
- the speaking champion Malachi studied it before going all the way up to Las Vegas
- the renewed education Ambassador and well known workshop leader is studying it now too

2nd, Improving your storytelling, Doug Lipman
About finding "MIT": The Most Important Thing. Explains a lot also of our links between the audience, the story and the teller and relative, different the importance at each telling. Also the different kind of audiences and evenings; the joy of reaching each time the "one" who does needed it.

from my Books for Public Speaking3 th Wired for story, Lisa Cron,
Explains, what we expect from stories. How to hook the reader, delving deeper in "why" we are expecting, why it is important to go deep. Not easy to reach all the goals the book talks abut, but explained clearly what we are "wired for", need from a story.

4rd speak like Churchill, stand like Linkoln by James C. Humes
Secrets of history's great speakers. Easy to read, great "power technique"s. First chapter for example is  "The Power of Pause" that I learned to apply and it does give great results.

5th the Story Factor by Annette Simmons,
Influence and persuade at work through the art of storytelling in the enterprise and workplace. Why, how and what kind of stories to give in companies.

6. Be a great standup, by Logan Murray, London. He is also great workshop leader, I did attend three of his workshops. For all budding amateur comedians, the book explains some important basics, with examples of how to develop a "comedian eye".

7. Standup Comedy, the book by Judy Carter, 
First ever book about standup comedy, some great techniques, basics on humour. She has a chapter on the importance of "top the punch", how to use the punch line and add another to it. Very effective!

8. The naked presenter, Garr Reynolds,
Presenting with or without slides, but opening up going deep into your story. Opening yourself to draw the audience into your speech and your point of view.

9. Resonance, Nancy Duarte
Present visual stories that transform the audience.

Another time, I will add three more book to the list. All these books I read and studied and re-read., they all helped me to progress and added to the total. I am still in need to study them again, as at every stage we understand differently.

06/04/2017

3 May, end level 1 Pathways: Research



Pathways is Toastmasters latest, future Education program, actually in Pilot phase
It has 5 levels in each of its 10 path, but the first two are almost identical
This speech was given after I studied the last project of level 1 : "Research"
My research combined Pathways program and Transitions. We are in a transition period from the old eduction program, most of us use still, and the new one, used by some from the two Pilot districts.

I am now also in a club, from one of them.

04/04/2017

Julie, standing first time online


 2017 03 12 09 Firebirds collective meeting
yes, it still needs some adjusting...
Feedback of Loraine to Julie


16/03/2017

1 hour Humour Workshop with Sonia 16 Mars 2017


Sonia Aste, has become Comedian, MC and Standup Comedy Producer also.
She offered us a workshop in our Witty Storytellers Online, toastmaster club.
We invited also members from other Online Clubs participating actively in it.

15/02/2017

Beginnings, comedy

My 1st standup comedy workshop in 2011 begun with a round robin, the others telling how they see me between others. I was stunned to hear how they see "old" how all the young men with me at the workshop perceived me!

At first, I tried to TELL them how I feel "There is a young kid inside me" showing them at my first 2' even a picture of me as 5 years old standing up on a cube. They stared at me with stunned eyes. Without even a small smile. I understood then what it meant "I died", in comedy terms.

To accept and change their perception, I learned to DEMONSTRATE instead of telling.
At Saint Patricks day the bus did not work I had to walk and my knee begun to hurt.
I decided also to use the language I just learned in the workshop (some of it at least):

"My name is Julie and I am 77
Standup comedy after 77 ?
I can barely stand on my feet!
What the fuck I am doing in this shit?"

Top this with dialogue told in the moment:

My daughter called this morning.
"Mamie, you can't use this language, not you!"
"What language?"
"Those 4 letter words."

Top top: after looking around.
"But she is not here."

Even using words I never used before the f.. S. word.

Many asked themselves sometimes : what am I doing here? So I did voice what they had in their head, and at the same time showed I do not take myself seriously.

Then added what happened indeed, at that time, as I send my daughter my text to correct my English. She called me indeed. All of us had occasions when they did things, after being sure, the one telling them not to do it was not there.

But if I used her call in my first public Standup, we had 120 participants, later on, I used the same as if it happened "this morning". Bringing stories in present is important and allowed even when you tell True Stories from your life, not only in Comedy.

---
1. Setup. Begin by acknowledging how the others SEE you. Fill in necessary information for the rest to be understood, no more. Instead of telling the truth: that you are a lot more complex and different then they think, pretend at the beginning you are as they imagine using the stereotype in their head.

2. Add to it first even a bit of exaggeration, letting them believe "yes, that is what I thought",
this is called a Misdirection.

3. Then, surprise them, not by telling but by showing: you are just like them. Punch line.

Top it with a second punchline that builds on what you just told: it makes gives your routine an impromptu feel. As if you just invented it in that moment, only for them, there.

Keep all in present as much as possible "in the moment". If needed change time to make it seem it just happened to you, even if it was true the first time told but repeated after a month or years.
----

Nowadays, it's enough for me to begin with:
"My name is Julie.
I am single (looking around)
Ready to mingle. (With open arms)"

Top
"Never too late!"
Top top
"There is always yet another chance in life!"

For me this works, most of the time, because it seems funny to them for an old woman to declare herself "single" and "ready to" even if she does indeed live alone.

---
In a new toastmaster club I visit, I sometimes tell :

"Do you remember why you come to your first TM meeting?
Well, at age 44, three years after I become single again, I did go to my first club
To find a man."

Top
"Still looking."

They see I am an old woman, mostly do not have to tell them any more my age.
And why should I tell them in fact I am now already 82, no more 77 as I was when I begun!
Well a few years here or there, is 'detail".

---
Of course, each has to find his/her beginning starting with others' perceptions, acknowledging the stereotype, embracing it and using it, before showing (not telling) that there is a lot more to us than they thought.

02/02/2017

Merci ! For all of you, in French and English

Thanks ! For all who loved me

For all who had loved me
For a day or for years
All who had desired me, and I desired,
For years, month or a few hours 
Or imagining that he loved or wanted me
A day,  months,  or many years;
Or even for a wonderful night:

I have not forgotten
I have not regretted
I have not forgotten

Neither my years long teenage flame
Disappeared even before we touched;
Nor my first kisses on the street or a bench
In the almost closed park;
Or swimming midnight naked into the lake
And the tender chaste cuddling near a wood fire

I have not forgotten
I have not regretted
I have not forgotten.

Becoming woman at 25: it was not too late!
Our children were conceived with fervent kisses
I have not forgotten!

Deceptions, betrayal and sorrow followed,
Bitter ashes covered too often the great times
But I learned, even if later : one evening
Can make me happy for a whole year
I have not forgotten any of you !

Betrayed or neglected: I have not regretted.
I cried, then later told myself "it is I who imagined"
"It was me who lured myself he loved as I loved
That he wanted as I wanted and desired "

Yes, I desired, I loved
And even it not for all life
Was desired, was loved
I have not regretted
I have not forgotten

I loved some  and strongly desired others
I have loved and lived, and I do remember.
Thank you all for those moments, 
Those years  or moments of happiness:
I do not forget!

And here is the French original

Merci 
A tous qui m'ont aimée ou désirée

Pour tous  qui m’ont aimée
Pour un jour ou des années
Pour tous qui m’ont désirée et j’ai désiré,
Ne serait-ce que des heures

Ou imaginant qu’il m’aimaient ou désiraient
Pendant des mois, des années; 
Ou une merveilleuse soirée.

Je n’ai pas oubliée
Je n’ai pas regrettée
Je n’ai pas oubliée!

Ni mon flamme d’adolescente
Disparue dans la fumée;
Ni mes premiers baisais
Dans le park presque fermée;
Ni la plongée deminuit nu dans le lac 
Ou la tendresse davant un feu de bois

Je n’ai pas oubliée
Je n’ai pas regrettée
Je ne vous ai oubliée!

Femme, tard dans la vie: jamais trop tard
Nos enfants conçus de nos fervents baisers
Je n’ai pas oubliée!

Deceptions , trahisons et blessures entassés
Cendres amères ont couvert nos bon moments

J’ai apprise alors, qu’une seule soirée
Peut apporter de la joie pour toute une année
Je n'ai pas oubliée!

Deçue ou délaissée, je n’ai pas regerttée
J’en ai pleurée,et puis dit “c’est toi qui a imaginée”
"C”est toi qui t’est leurrée qu’il t’aimais comme tu aimais
Qu’il te désirait comme tu le désirais"

J’ai désirée, j’ai aimée
Je n’ai pas regrettée
Je ne vous ai oubliée

J’ai aimée ou je vous ai fortement désirée: j’ai vécu
Merci pour ces moments, ces années de bonheur:
Je ne vous est oubilée!









30/01/2017

Better laugh of whatever arrives in life

Some Selfies - yes, better laugh of all that arrives
15 auto-portraits from my album "some selfies" taken from 2004, when I become 70 years old through the years showing my "kid playing" side and daring to show different sides of myself.

First row
The first time I dared an auto-portrait playing with an old wig and dusty hat.
The first time I was happy how I looked with swimming pool hair in the wind.
The day I dared to tell "it is exactly 52 years that I..." dot dot dot.
The day I took the first photo of myself in the bain: the small camera could do it.
The bad hair day, last in the first row, is my most popular photo on Flickr: and at that time, I still did not believe I have funny bones! "Julie, what did you do?!!!"

Second row
My face in bubble bath and
the face preparing already stories in London,
I like showing an expression "I still hope",
followed by preparation of the story of my nose, that was not cut,
and laughing of how much the hairdresser did cut my hair a day.

The last row are disasters mostly. Better show and laugh of them.
Shaving? so what!
After cataract intervention.
In middle of Effedrine treatment of my all burned front.
When I lost my three front teeth.

"Loosing three front teeth? So cute! When one is 7. Not at 77."
This photo was taken to prove myself it is not a complete catastrophe!
So true. Now I tell myself "at least you do not have to walk on it".
And I have a denture instead them...

Last pic is prepared to go again to standup comedy, yes, I will go again and again, some time yet.

Looking back to what happened is easier then trembling "how it will go tomorrow". But of course, I also have to stop, and prepare, prepare. "Practice, practice practice, and never give up even after 70"

24/01/2017

Never Too Late, Never Too Old, from Toastmasters Magazine, June 2016

Never Too Late, Never Too Old
Stand-up comedian and storyteller proves 
that adventures can start at any age.

BY SHANNON DEWEY TM Magazine June 2016

In 1944, an unassuming girl from Transylvania began the simple task of recording her thoughts in a diary while hiding in Budapest after fleeing the Nazis during World War II.

Julie Kertesz’s diary entries as a 10-year-old have served as a roadmap for her storytelling 70 years later. Kertesz, DTM, is an efervescent Toastmaster who uses her intriguing past and honest humor to engage audiences all over Europe, especially in London. Kertesz initially found Toastmasters in 1977 while living in the United States, and with typical candor she admits her reason for joining.

Should I confess? I was just divorced and working in America, and I wanted to  find a place with more men than women!” Kertesz says. “Did I  find ‘my man’ at a Toastmasters club? No, I’m still looking. But I found my voice!”

She performs stand-up comedy, teaches a storytelling workshop, attends meetings at the Lewisham Speakers Club in London and writes blogs. Every few decades she’s encountered major changes in her life, but she’s learned to make the best out of any situation and  nds humor in everything.

Crossing Cultures
For 35 years, Kertesz called Paris, France, her home. During that time she worked as a chemist and later as a researcher while studying for a doctorate in chemistry. Life had thrown her a curveball, however, and after her marriage ended, she took her two children and her Ph.D. to the U.S.

For a long time I asked myself who am I? I felt like a  fish out of water,” Kertesz admits. But then, a er living near Washington, D.C., for three years, she felt welcomed, especially a er discovering her  rst club, Monument Toastmasters in Silver Springs, Maryland.

Kertesz worked as a visiting fellow at  e National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. But without U.S. citizenship, she could only stay for a limited time under her work contract, so she packed up her life again and returned to France. But  finding a research chemist position at that point in her life proved impossible. After being told that she was too old, she was forced to change professions.

In 1981, at the humble beginnings of personal computers, Kertesz developed an interest and started a company that distributed American computer products in France. She even had the privilege of meeting computer industry pioneers Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Bill Atkinson.

I liked being a chemist, but I loved working with personal computers,” Kertesz says. “I never even dreamed I’d be a computer company founder and buyer/seller, but I discovered with delight when approaching age 46 that I had it in me.”

60 is the New 30
When Kertesz turned 60, she retired from her computer career and began to read through her 50 years’ worth of diary entries. She started saving them as  digital files to share with her children, but in doing so she realized that others may be interested in her stories, so she published them. Soon, her blog julie2004.blogspot.co.uk was up and running.

Photo in front, courtesy of The Guardian newspaper. This one taken in Tallinn by fellow TM. 

Julie Kertesz (center) stands with Toastmasters Oscar Santolalla, left, and Asta Pipiraite, after presenting her Funny Bones workshop in Tallinn, Estonia, for two Nordic European Toastmasters divisions last November. Bottom, Kertesz poses for a newspaper photographer while in Budapest where she participated in the Continental Europe Toastmasters Laugh and Learn conference in 2013.

Written in French, the diaries reveal her authenticity starting with entries from 1944. During that time, Kertesz and her family, who were Christian but of Jewish origin, were living in hiding under the steps of a coal cellar in Budapest. 

Here  is is an entry from December 25, 1944:
“Yesterday we celebrated Christmas. I am filled with happiness! Yet there is a war. We have fir branches hanging from the ceiling, we decorated them and added candy. I received so many gifts! ... For two days we hear the roar of guns so strong that even mom heard them, at least the most violent ... A small bomb fell outside the church of St. Apostles (but no one died).”

While she enjoyed writing and sharing her stories, Kertesz also discovered photography at age 70 and joined the popular website Flickr, where she posts images for public viewing (www.flickr. com/people/joyoflife). Her photography consists of nature shots, portraits of strangers, places where she travels and more. Sixty thou- sand photos later, Kertesz is still posting every day. Her photos have surpassed 10 million views from people all over the world.

In another change of events, in 2008 Kertesz moved to London, England. Although linked to millions of people through her blog and photography, she again felt disconnected in her new city. But a er a short time she found her way back to Toastmasters and joined two clubs, as well as participated in Spark London events (Britain’s  rst true storytelling initiative), where she performed be- fore a paying audience. After earning her Competent Communicator, she started a blog in English competentcommunicator. blogspot.co.uk/ where she offers advice and videos.

Coming to London, I wanted to  find like-minded people and tell my stories,” Kertesz says. “I had  nally found my tribe at Toastmasters.”

Branching Out
In her late 70s, Kertesz stepped out of her comfort zone and dipped her toe into the pool of stand-up comedy.

Sporting short white hair and well-earned wrinkles, Kertesz admits she may give off  a “grandma” vibe when strolling onto a stage at the comedy clubs. But audiences learn quickly not to judge her by appearance alone. Her stand-up act includes allusive jokes about her love life and some self-deprecating humor about her age, with four-letter words sprinkled in, despite her daughter’s advice. In this case, the grandmother uses her geriatric status as an advantage to conjure laughter.
“I had never even heard of stand-up comedy until age 77, and it was only then that I learned we all have funny bones—we just have to cultivate them,” Kertesz says.
I believed for so long that I was not funny. But we develop, with time, a ‘comedian’s eye,’ looking at all our problems and learning how to present them so others will laugh with us.”
Kertesz now incorporates elements of what she’s learned onstage back at her Toastmasters clubs, or while giving speeches as an Ambassador for Toastmasters’ revitalized education program (REP). She also saw the fruits of her labor recently when she was invited to Tallinn, Estonia, to give a workshop on “Funny Bones” to two Nordic Toastmasters divisions.
“Speaking from the inside connects us to any audience,” Kertesz says. “I learned to connect with a young audience as a stand-up comedian and with a middle-aged crowd as a personal storyteller.”

She especially bonds with her audience when she performs her personal story titled “When I was 10, the War Caught Up With Me.” Watch a video of it here: bit.ly/1RCNBKM.

What’s Next?
These days Kertesz, who turns 82 in July, spends time on her Kindle reading romance novels, scrolling through Facebook and adding to her Flickr photo account. Since she is tech savvy, she was an early adopter to meeting online with a group of advanced Toastmasters from around the world. That group chartered in March as the Firebirds Collective club.
“I learned through my online meetings that we can get to know each other even better through the web, and in a fun environment like that we learn a lot from one another.”
So what’s Kertesz’s next adventure?

“I hope to give more workshops, visit my clubs o en as an REP Ambassador and create a storytelling club for Toastmasters of different continents,” she says.

Kertesz has come a long way since fleeing her home in the midst of the Second World War.  A young girl, quietly writing in her diary, would have been surprised to know how those entries would impact people in other countries 70 years later. 


SHANNON DEWEY is the editorial coordinator for the Toastmaster magazine.
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What is next? was asked in February, the article was published in June.
While continuing to offer Storytelling and Funny Bones, workshops, in various clubs and online too, Julie Kertesz continued to work as Pathway Ambassador also. 

In July 2016, she found a team as enthusiast as her and together they created Witty Storytellers Online, chartered in September, with members from 11 countries, many continents. She is VPE of the first speciality online toastmasters club. 
Her adventure continues. 

20/01/2017

Mistaken Identity 'The possibilities are endless' video by Spark London

Here is the Mistaken identity tale filmed from a lateral point of view by Spark London when I performed.

in the iframe so - even an ipad could see it.

AND somehow it is different when one listen to it,
I think we could learn from each kind when we relisten or relook
- and not only the evident English mistakes I made during the telling -

My body language, facial expression and even voice variety got better
but I have still far to go! And I do not rush out (most of the time) after a performance.

I am most pleased that this serious message got well across and so much laugher too: it did decide me to learn about "how to make laugh with intention" not only by chance. At 2'7 the audience begun to laugh when I stripped, took out my tee-shirt, and they never stopped.

https://app.box.com/shared/m4vj8sftdd
Sound track of the story I told at Canal Café Theatre

06/01/2017

Julie at Cavendish Arms, end June 2016


Between 24 young great comedians, I was elected best at the end of evening.
In plus, for of my grown up grand-children assisted to this comedy night!