My Story as a Stutterer: Handout from talk at Nordic Seminar, Tallinn, Sept. 1, 2018

You can access a PDF of the handout here:

Jaan Pill handout

I was super impressed with the Nordic Seminar (bringing together members of Scandinavian stuttering associations) that I recently attended in Estonia.

As part of the days-long event, we all went to the Tallinn Tele-Tower on the evening of Sept. 1, 2018. Daniele Rossi of the Canadian Stuttering Association (CSA), who had attended the Nordic Seminar in Finland in 2016, had told me about the skits and dramatic productions, from each Scandinavian country, that are a traditional feature of the Nordic Seminars. I enjoyed the skits in Tallinn at the Tele-Tower – they were amazing.

The final stage of the Nordic Seminar this year involved a trip across the Estonian landscape, starting with a hotel stay in Narva (as I recall) and a trip along Lake Peipsi.

The next Nordic Seminar is in Iceland in 2020. There will not be any Nordic Seminar in 2019 as that is the year that the International Stuttering Association will hold its World Congress – in Iceland.

The Nordic associations have a long tradition, as I learned, of great annual activities – including ones focusing on bringing together young people who stutter (from Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe) – which are, in my view, well worth emulating.

I was also very pleased to get a ride to the Tallinn Airport with Andres Loorand on the morning of Sept. 2, 2018, the day that I flew to Stockholm for a brief stopover in Amsterdam, where I am writing this post right now, prior to my journey back to Toronto on Sept. 3, 2018.

I was delighted to have the opportunity, on the way from the Viimsi SPA hotel, to stop at the office of the Estonian Stuttering Association. Andres showed me around. The office is in an old, renovated building where offices for a number of disability-related organizations are located.

The Estonian Stuttering Association office is located right near the Tompea castle, whose location I had been seeking, on previous visits to the Old Town, to establish in my mind. What a great location for an office. I was also impressed with the green space, close to the Tompea castle walls, where outdoor meetings of the Tallinn self-help group, for people who stutter, are held when the weather permits.

In all possible ways, I was very highly and positively impressed with the great work that Nordic stuttering associations are doing.

This was first-ever Nordic Seminar in Estonia

I was very impressed with how well the 2018 Nordic Meeting was organized. A large number of members of the Estonian Stuttering Association were involved with the organizing of the event. Each person played a part – the work was spread out.

This was the first time that the Nordic event had been held in Estonia. English was chosen as the language, that would be used. That worked out well. On a subsequent visit to Estonia, I will make presentations in Estonian. On this occasion, however, I made my presentation in English. I much enjoyed working on my talk, in the months leading up to it.

All that I have learned, over several decades of making such presentations, came into play, in the development and refining of the speaking notes – condensed, in the end, to three pages of handwritten topic headings – that I used for the talk. On every level, the Nordic Seminar was a first-rate learning experience for all of us. Most of all, we learned new things.

The past is of great interest to many of us, but – as has always been the case – it’s the present moment that provides us the only portal (that was have) to access the past. What is happening right now is what matters, above all else. The past is relevant to the extent that it affects the present moment, and to the extent that we are, indeed, aware of the past as we look closely at it, in the present moment.

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