Reading to an Audience
The Reading is over!!! Huzzah!!
The reading was Monday evening and I worked really hard at not being nervous all day. I picked the fight scene between Sam, Dean and the Blink Bear from Chapter 1 of The Dope that we Smoke. Since each person was only allowed five minutes of reading time, I had to cut up and re-write that section so that it fit within the allocated time limit and still made some sense without the context of the rest of the story. Of course, that day both of my sons had friends over and they were playing very loudly, not to mention the fact that they were all over the house so there was no place where I could practice reading out loud. I ended up taking my story outside and reading to my bunny rabbits in their hutches. They probably thought I was nuts.
My family all came with me to the restaurant and it was packed. There had to have been at least 150 people there with a microphone and speakers in the front. My name was about half way through the list of readers – plenty of time to get worked up and nervous. But what really helped me relax was thinking about all of you, the people I have come to know from sharing our stories with one another. I thought about how supportive you all have been and I imagined you all there with me, cheering me on.
I also had a real life cheering section in my family and all of the people from my class. Amazingly, all 5 of the other students from my writing workshop came, even the ones who were not reading. It was wonderful to see them again and to know that they were they because they wanted to show their support. That made me realize that every single person in the restaurant was there to support someone or to support writers in general and no one was there to sit in judgment. After that I felt much better.
When my turn came my hands were still shaking, even with all my reasons why I shouldn’t be nervous. But my voice was steady even if I probably could have read slower and looked up at the audience more often to give my words more effect. The funny part was when a waiter came out to serve one of the tables their order of flaming cheese. Right in the middle of my reading he set the plate on fire. Talk about distracting!!! Oh well, it was good for a laugh afterwards when my instructor said, ‘It doesn’t get much more dramatic than having things set on fire while you’re reading’.
All in all, I got through it just fine and when it was over nobody booed or threw rotten fruit. So I guess it was okay.
Actually, everyone clapped and my friends and family congratulated me and I felt relieved. Yes, it was a good experience and I think I would even consider doing it again.
On another note, sadly, my computer crashed last week and I lost all 10 pages of the chapter I was working on for Bonded and Broken. The file was not recoverable and now I have to re-write the entire thing. I did not have a back up or a single printed copy. *sigh* This new version may end up being better than the first version. I have to console myself somehow.
Thank you for being my friends!