Episode 022 -- Meet Craig Martin, The Online Busker

A few weeks ago, I was visiting the Reddit Stroke forum (r/stroke) and saw some posts from The Online Busker. I checked out his site, and thought his music was great so I invited him on the show.


Craig was a professional musician and guitarist before his stroke. He made a nice living playing in the bars and restaurants of Portugal and Gran Canaria. He moved to the Spanish mainland and began teaching English in Salamanca. When his stroke happened he had to make some decisions.


Craig worked to relearn how to play guitar. He adopted several strategies, including the use of double-stick tape. You can see the results in this video, and you can see a whole lot more over at OnlineBusker.net


During our chat, Craig also talked about one of his more popular videos with some tips for playing guitar after a stroke.You can check that out here.

Craig wanted to help others with his music. On his website, you can tip his virtual guitar case. Half of all the funds he raises there go to the World Stroke Organization.

One thing that has made Craig successful in recovering as many of his abilities as he has is that he set a goal of producing and publishing his performances. The public goal of doing that creates a level of commitment to others that means you HAVE to do the work. That approach drove him to practice, rehearse, and record.

Links from Today

Hack of the Week

Craig, born in Manchester England suggested using cell-o-tape to tape a pen into your writing hand. It can be a great way to start writing with an affected hand.

In the US, I believe cell-o-tape would translate to Scotch tape. I imagine referring to Scotch tape in the UK would be more complicated.

This also makes the appearance of spell-o-tape in the Harry Potter novels more sensible.

Where do we go from here?


Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 070 -- Speak about your Fire and Meet Dr. Melissa Bird


2-Minute Tip -- Know the thing that lights you on fire


Melissa Bird explains that the key to success is to know what lights you on fire. When you know that fire and can speak to your passion, it becomes so much easier to let your voice through regardless of the audience size.


But how do you figure out what your fire is if you don't already know? Here's where I think pen and paper and a quiet corner or coffee shop can help.


Give yourself 15 minutes and write down the answers to these questions. Don't worry about getting it "right" or making it presentable. All you want is ink or graphite on paper.

  • What do you talk about with friends?
  • What do you post about most on social media?
  • What angers you most in the news?
  • What is your go-to advice for folks?


Odds are something you are passionate about will be on that list.


That's great for personal stuff, but I know most folks want to improve their speaking skill at work and prefer to keep politics and life issues separate because they may not be directly related to your quarterly sales presentation or negotiating skills seminar. That's fine. Simply at "at work" to each of those questions and the exercise will still help. It will help you identify the issues at work you most need to speak about.


Post-Tip Discussion


Melissa Bird HeadshotMelissa Bird, PhD, MSW is a passionate feminist whose education in social work has led to a career advocating for children, women, and their families. She is a fierce believer in social justice advocacy and preparing women for leadership roles in politics. She has a wealth of experience working with policy makers, community leaders, and other stakeholders to improve access to reproductive health care for women, men and teens.


As a writer, professor and fiery public speaker, Dr. Bird creates the genesis for a new brand of leadership. Her words awaken revolutionaries, trailblazers and powerful innovators in the quest for justice. When she’s not building her public speaking Empire, she can be found reading trashy novels, drinking fine whiskey, playing mom to three delicious humans, and loving her punk rock scientist James Thomas Kelly.


I met Melissa Through Melanie Childers who you heard from in episode 68.



Melissa's experience with speaking began with dealing with tremendous speaking anxiety in high school, in front of an audience of 15 other students. A great teacher helped her through it and pushed her to succeed, providing the basic tools she needed for success.


Melissa would later go on to speak at political rallies to audiences large and small, to conferences for social workers, and to anywhere she could share message of social justice or finding your voice.



We also talked a lot about Facebook live. Melissa regularly uses the platform to connect with her audience and to work out ideas and thoughts she may want to talk about in the future. It's a fascinating platform that frequently draws a larger audience than expected.



The discussion has me thinking about ways to incorporate Facebook Live into 2-Minute Talk Tips and Strokecast. After show, anyone?


Links related to this Episode



Call To Action


  • What do you think about finding your voice or working things out through Facebook Live? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Would you like to share your literal voice? Leave a message at 650-TalkTip (650-825-5847)
  • To share this episode on Facebook or the social media platform of your choice, click the icon below, or just copy and paste this link: http://2minutetalktips.com/birdgirl
  • To learn more about Melissa's work or to work with her, head on over to birdgirlindustries.com.
  • Make sure you speak about the topics that light you on fire.
  • Don't get best…get better.


Check out this episode!


Episode 021 -- New Stroke Basics

As Emilee said last week, no one plans to have a stroke. When it does happen it's scary and complicated. In addition to the medical stuff, there's also the bureaucracy around finances and family roles that get turned upside down.I see a lot of questions and topics coming up on online support groups on Facebook, Reddit, and other places. I want to talk about some of that stuff this week to provide some reassurance and a base of knowledge from which folks can then ask more specific questions.

If anything I say, conflicts with the professional medical advice you receive, listen to your doctor -- not that guy on the internet.

As a caregiver with a stroke survivor you have to remember to breathe and take care of yourself. Emilee talked about that last week, and Dr. Lorig talked about it the week before.

After a stroke the brain is damaged. The only question is how damaged it is. Early treatment for a clot-based stroke can minimize the damage and speed up the recovery, as we saw with Anne Dailey in episode 14. In my  case, I was outside the window for clot treatment so I still have more physical limitations.

Regardless, the brain is traumatized. It may have been starved of blood or drowned in blood. It's swollen. It may have have had a cable run into it from the thigh. The hospital environment is new and stressful. Parts have gone dark. Systems have gone off line. It's likely swollen in the skull.

It may take hours, days, or weeks to know the full extent.

Because there are so many variables in stroke from person to person and in each brain there are quadrillions of nerve connections that can be impacted, every stroke is different. Just like every person is different. Drawing comparisons between stroke survivors is likely problematic. There are some things we can keep in mind, though.

Sleep is more important than ever. When we sleep, the brain doesn't shut down. It cleans up and rebuilds. It's like closing the freeway at night for major construction. A stroke survivor will often need more sleep than before, especially in the immediate aftermath of a stroke. 

Some folks may struggle with sensory processing. When they're not able to filter out most of the data we filter out every day, too much sound and too many people and too much light can be overwhelming and exhausting. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor talks about this experience in her book, "My Stroke of Insight." It a great read for survivors, and it's probably even a better read for those around the survivor. You can find it here (affiliate link) or at your library.

Emotional Lability or Pseudo Bulbar Effect is also a thing many stroke survivors deal with, and it can be scary to those close to them. I talked about this with Gerrit in episode 7. It manifests as crying at the slightest emotional reaction or laughing at completely inappropriate times. Just because a stroke survivor is crying, though, doesn't mean they are sad. They might be, or they might not. It's just a physical reaction to the brain working hard. Sometimes in PT sessions, I would start crying as a result, even though I felt perfectly fine. Sometimes it lasts weeks. Sometimes longer. Medication can also help

After stroke, recovery starts immediately. It may not be fast or easy, but it does start. The key is to focus on the work. it takes thousands of repetitions to relearn a skill. There's a community to help.

Connect with a local support group, or find an online group. There are a bunch of Facebook groups and even a group on Reddit. There are several stroke support podcasts, too. Most groups welcome both survivors and caregivers.

More than 800,000 folks have a stroke each year in the US. You are unique, and your stroke is unique, but you're not alone.

Hack of the Week

Dycem (affiliate link) is a rubbery-plasticy material that is one of the Occupational Therapist's best friends. There's no adhesive, but it's super sticky. You can find it on Amazon (affiliate link), in OT catalogs, and probably medical supply stores. You can usually ask your friendly neighborhood OT for a piece and they can likely hook you up.

I use it most often for yogurt. The problem with eating yogurt one-handed is that the container slides around whenever I stick the spoon in. So I lay a piece of Dycem on the table, put the yogurt on top, and it doesn't slide around. Really, it works great for anything I don't want sliding around.

It's washable, too. I've been using the same 8x8 piece for more than 6 months now.

If you want to make it pretty, you can even use fancy scissors to cut patterns into it, and make sticky doilies or snowflakes.

Where do we go from here?

  • What was your early experience like as a stroke survivor or caregiver? What do you wish you knew early on? Let us know in the comment below or click here.
  • Consider picking up a roll of Dycem for yourself, or ask your OT.
  • Share this episode with someone else who may find it helpful. Tell them to go to strokecast.com/newstroke.
  • Don't get best...get better.


Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Episode 069 -- 3 Tips and Meet Pradeepa Narayanaswamy

2-Minute Tip: 3-Fer


This week's tip comes from our special guest, Pradeepa Narayanaswamy and is a 3-pack of tips.


  1. Wear comfortable clothes. That doesn't necessarily mean loose. It means clothes in which you feel comfortable and powerful.
  2. Practice power poses and do vocal warm ups before going on stage. You can check out Amy Cuddy's work for more details on poses. For vocal exercises, go ahead and make sounds and loosen up to get comfortable. You can even step into the bathroom before you speak to do this. Bonus: you may end up with an entire public restroom to yourself as you make theses sounds to loosen up.
  3. When someone asks if you're nervous, say instead, "I'm excited." Even announce on stage how excited you are. The body responds similarly to nervousness and excitement so embrace the mindset that best prepares you for success.


Post Tip Discussion: Meet Pradeepa Narayanaswamy


Pradeep Narayanaswamy headshot

Pradeepa is a corporate trainer, speaker, and fertility coach whose mission in life is "to help men's women's, and couples' infertility journey suck less."

 We talk about how she group up in the public speaking world, first learning by watching her father, and later being coached by him when she entered the world of competitive speech. She developed a natural rhythmic style that came through as we spoke. It's one of the things that makes Pradeepa a compelling speaker.

 She brought those skills to her new found passion as a fertility coach. This is not a journey anyone seeks out. It's the result of her own, long struggle with infertility. She talks about the details and heartbreak of these struggles over at the Biz Babes with Soul podcast.


Conferences have played an important part in Pradeepa's evolution from developing new skills and understanding around the importance of listening to giving her an opportunity to experiment with branding and publicly embracing her new identity.

 We also talk about the challenges of talking about a subject many folks don't want to talk about publicly, and how Pradeepa benefited from doing just that.

So take a few minutes this week, and get to know the fascinating Pradeepa Narayanaswamy.


This week's links



Call To action


  • What are your thoughts on this week's episode? Have you found yourself speaking about taboo subjects from stage? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below.
  • Check out Pradeepa's site for more information or to learn how you can work with her.
  • Do you listen to 2-Minute Talk Tips on an Apple device? Visit the Apple Podcasts store to leave us a rating or review
  • Don't get best...get better.


Check out this episode!