Friday, July 28, 2006

On reading

Not just reading to yourself but reading in public. I have my first public reading tomorrow night at the Newman Wine Vaults (as I've already said in a post below). I'm pretty nervous (aka frightened to death) but everyone keeps telling me there will be friendly people there, mostly people I know I'm guessing, so it should be okay. There are two things about readings anyone who wants to be a writer must consider: one is the nerves and the second is what to read.

As for the nerves, there is a part in my book that pretty much happened to me, although over two different public speaking events. In the book I tell how Lisa Simms is giving a presentation and she hears papers rattling so loud, it is distracting. She eventually realizes it is her because her hands are shaking so hard, the papers she is holding are making a racket. That happened to me while doing a presentation about drunk driving for a Social Work class. The other part is when she is unable to breathe while presenting. That happened to me when I had to do an education session about alcohol and drug withdrawals for a group of Addictions Counsellors. My supervisor told me she thought I was going to pass out. But once I got going, I did pretty good. I can only hope I don't pass out tomorrow night.

Next is what to read. Really. You've got almost 300 pages there to choose from. Do you read something lighthearted or something more serious? Do you read a whole chapter? Include the letter at the beginning of the chapter? Read the part about the shaking papers so people will understand why you are not breathing? Start at the beginning might be good advice and I think it is but I have the luxury of having a book that is divided by letters at the beginning of each chapter, followed by the true stories behind the letters. Except for two of them, the chapters are pretty much self contained so I can read from almost anywhere with maybe a little description of who the characters are. So I've been practicing reading three letters with little sections of the stories behind each one, as per the advice of my friend Kathy. I have fifteen to twenty minutes to fill so it is a chance to let people know how the story goes.

Back to the nerves again, my friend Mary-Jean told me I can't complain about being nervous because I wanted to have a published book and part of it includes the readings. "It is what you wanted", she said. She is right.

If you're not going to attend, please send some positive vibes out into the universe for me around 8:00 tomorrow night. I'll let you know on Sunday whether or not I passed out (during the reading; I'm going to a party after the reading so who knows what will happen then).


At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Kathy said...

Hey there 'O Nervous One'.
I will be attending tonight but wanted to send some positive vibes anyway. It will be a good evening. Imagine, your 'first' reading of your 'first' book. It's exciting, isn't it? Yeah, yeah, that's it, exciting. Not scary, not sweaty palms and gut-cramping - but exciting.
Not that I have comforted you - I must go write my paper. Now, that's scary!


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