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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My First Ever Reading: It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

It was a dark and stormy night at the beginning of this month, when I gave my first ever reading. Moments before we left, the sky lit up while a huge clap of thunder shook the house. My little one was too scared to leave home, I took her with me, hoping my oldest could babysit her outside the hall so my husband could come inside. This would be a necessity, as I had heard that my classmates were all leaning towards pieces with a sexual theme--like my piece.

So, we dripped inside with about thirty brave souls--none of my friends could make it, but my two classmates had brought some and some just came on their own. Reader number one's piece was a funny exploration of loud sex in a tiny North woods summer cabin community, complicated by letters both participants sent to a local Dear Abby and, of course, local gossip.

Reader number two's piece was a witty riff on faking it--in art, in relationships, in sex and even in appearing needy enough to get donations. I loved both readings and both classmates read beautifully. (This is a rip-roaringly talented class.)

Then it was my turn. I was very nervous. We had a five minute limit, and though I had been told they would not use a large hook if we ran over time, I feared I might read too slowly, or conversely, race through.  Mine also included a sex scene, in a section from mid-novel in The Color Of Safety. Here, a character comes home to discover an act of betrayal. Though she does not kill herself, a part of her dies, the part that believes she can make her life safe. It was the most literary of the readings. Except heck, sex is sex, right, even if you're obliquely quoting Shakespeare. There were audible gasps and applause when I finished. "Were you an actor?" someone asked.

 "Whew," I thought. "I can do this if I have to." And of course, I am looking to publish successfully so I hope that I will have to do readings, often.

But the best news is, those who read plus one other extremely gifted classmate want to form a critique group. Everybody interested is a grownup and sane, everybody is committed, and each of them are gifted, interesting writers. I don't write genre and I am not a beginner. This makes it very hard to find valid group support and criticism. When you add the requirement of emotional maturity, it can be impossible. And yet, we've done it. Yahoo.

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