Friday, March 19, 2010

On Giving Readings

Shortly after I graduated from college and landed my first job, my boss asked me to introduce her at a talk.  I had no idea what to say, so I pretty much said nothing.  Just a "Mary asked me to introduce her and here she is."  Seriously, I think that's all I said.  Maybe less.

Since, one of my job requirements to train up to 200 people at a time, I had to learn how to say more than a few words in front of a crowd.  So, I did what any logical, honest person would:  I tricked myself.  I reasoned: no one comes for me.  They want information is a reliable and quick way.  My trick served me well.  As a presenter.  As a teacher.  

But definitely not as a reader of my own work.  I can't hide behind the material because the material is something I've created.  I've invariably gotten ill before readings. Given this little phobia, I was concerned about reading on the radio.  Not only an audience, but it was being recorded.  I prepared diligently, taking a few hours, marking up my copy, and timing out the segments.  

I walked into the booth.  Five microphones were perched around a table with a center console where someone was doing a show.  The microphones were ridiculously huge.  (Why do microphones needed steroids? I wondered.)  I put on the headphones, listened to the opening, and started reading.  

And I loved it.  Not having a visible audience seemed to free me.  The interview was a blast; I received great questions from Charlotte Sullivan.  When I was done, I had no idea what a said.  Good thing it is downloadable from KFAI.

I have a big reading coming up, the launch of Split on March 20th at the Loft at 7 PM.  I've invited everyone.  You're invited, too.  Come on by.  See if my new trick works.  This reading, I've learned, isn't for me; it isn't even about me.  It's about my readers.  And knowing that, I'm ready.  I hope.  I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

  1. They were indeed great questions, and you answered them beautifully!