at school in the 1980s, if asked to present work, I stuttered. Teachers and classmates made sure I never had to do it, I was complicit in avoiding this painful experience.
At university I joined the students amateur dramatics group to try and practice the problem away. In at the deep end. I helped with the make-up, brochure design, set-painting, costume creation and most of the time enyoyed being in the background. Then pr0gressed to my first role. Rumplestiltzkin. Lead in the xmas pantomime, few lines, all rhymed, easy to memorise. I over-practiced to take the edge of my feelings of shere terror. First night, 300 people in the audience including my parents. Minor dose of terror. It went well.
Over time I ramped-up my speaking parts. In a community theatre production of Peter Shaffers Amadeus I played Constanza Mozart, a small significant part. The production was so good were invited to the Edinburgh festival. I still pause to find the words when I’m uncomfortable.
Half an hour in phone conversation with an amazing expert with the worse stutter I’ve ever heard left my empathsing in action in subsequent conversation. Temporary relapse.