Oh, how I love public speaking, the science and stress of it. You're familiar with The Moth; some of the talks below are at local platforms which do much the same (without the annoyance of rating people and their stories!). Some of them have to do with bus life, and some don't. Some are funny, and some are sad, but I hope you'll find them all engaging. Also included are talks I've given for the book and other lectures. Enjoy, and check back for more!
The TED Talk
Why talking to strangers might be a good idea, and what they offer us that friends can't.
MOHAI's History Cafe: Nathan Vass on Generationally Specific Behavioral Shifts in Communication
Part of MOHAI's History Cafe series. Everything you ever wanted to know about young people communicate (or dont'!) with strangers, and how that affects their lives. For context, read this essay from right after the speech, and this one about my aims in giving it.
The Cat Speech
I'm not a cat person. But I had to catsit, in a luxury apartment downtown. Here's what happened.
Nathan and Tom Eykemans at Elliott Bay
This is the now-legendary (for me, anyway!) show that apparently is one of Elliott Bay's highest-ever attended. I was told we beat out Bruce Springsteen! Not that it matters. What matters is not how many came, but who came. What a friendly crowd. A lot of people special to me were there that night. Can you feel it, especially toward the end as we get into Q&A? I still think about the question the girl asks at 1:34:34. I'd have a better answer now. Her tentative, raw vulnerability and the size of her query honestly contains more wisdom than anything I could've come up with in response. Reflections of my own on the event here.
The Last Story
My blog ran for eight years to the day, and this is video how I completed it. More here.
Nathan and Susanna Ryan at Third Place
How can I explain how fun this was? I can't. Just watch the video. Plus, reflections on this lovefest here. How can I resist writing lovefest recaps after all my events? It never gets old. I'm always cowed into silence (or lovefest recapping) with unending gratitude.
Greenwood Book Talk
Nathan Vass and Tom Eykemans chat it up, tell stories, read from the book and answer a host of interesting questions at the Greenwood Senior Center.
The Bus Fight Speech
Most of the time people on my bus are wonderful. Other times, they just beat each other up. This is the kind of story you can't make up [update to the story's main character here]:
Nathan on Why He Wrote the Book
My book, The Lines that Make Us, is Redmond Library's, Microsoft's, and the City of Redmond's choice for their 2020 Summer Reading Program! More here.
The Car Accident Speech
It almost didn't happen this way. But I'm so glad it did. These are the people I learn from.
The Leroy Speech
A little more on how I met Leroy, whom you know from The Seattle Times article.
The Birthday Speech
I never have birthday parties. This was advertised as my "first and last birthday party" (my Thirtieth), and we went all out: it was held on the roof of a one of the high-rise condo buildings downtown, and featured the most delightfully wide-ranging mix of a couple hundred people I could imagine. More on that day here; below is a story where I try to express thanks for how my friends helped me during my time in Paris.
Nathan as Life Goes On
This is a short one. Here I am reading a story that's meaningful to me at a festive bookselling event on Greenwood. I miscalculated the crowd; I made the error of baring my heart and soul with a story about death and grief at a delightful, high-spirited event that was more about cookies and meet'n'greeting. But I couldn't help myself. I include it here because this happens too. Every presenter knows that least-favorite sensation of asking for questions when there aren't any... But don't you love how Life takes charge as the video wears on, pulling us gently back into the sway of things? I think I had as much fun announcing Kim as I did reading my material!
The Blindfold Gallery Speech
Artists give artist talks at galleries all the time. But they don't give gallery talks about bus stuff, or reminisce lovingly on street anecdotes featuring enormous amounts of profanity. I thought I'd fill that void, at my 2013 solo show at Blindfold: