“And later, you can give us a reading of your book,” enthusiastically said Almost Author’s husband, much to her terror.
I gave my first reading. Sort of. There was only an audience of four, and I was related to them, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. We went to see our parents for Easter, hubster and I, and Bruce suggested that I read the first chapter of my book after supper. I was incredibly nervous. My mother-in-law and my parents are in their 70s, and not really readers of fantasy or bonker-silly fantasy, like I’m writing. You would think that because it was family, I’d be relaxed, but I wasn’t. I was nearly apoplectic.
A little background. I am a singer and musician. I’ve performed in front of hundreds of people, even original songs. I’m comfortable being in front of an audience. This was different. Reading a novel is way different from singing a song I composed. Maybe it’s because I can hide in the comfort of my instrument and melody for a song. Sharing my book was not like being physically stark naked, but like my soul was naked!
The hubster had everyone sit down and I walked into the room and he said, “You’re on. You have a captive audience!” Normally extroverted and expressive, I felt at once like I wanted to hide inside a couch fort. Maybe I am more like my protagonist that I realized. Thanks, Virj, you’ve made me an introvert. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
It was either sink or swim, so I started reading my chapter and metaphorically flapped my limbs in the pool of adventure. Poetic, eh? I like words. To my immense relief, they laughed. Then they laughed some more. In all the right places, they laughed. At the end, my mother-in-law clapped. That was nice. My Ma told me I was imaginative. That’s as great to hear when you’re 45 as when you’re 5. Gosh, where would we be without our mothers? The men in the room, my Da and my hubster, just smiled and looked proud. Even silence done with style lifts the spirit.
Chapter 1 of Life in the ‘Cosm is what I’d previously considered reading in public. I hadn’t spoken any of those words out loud to anyone before last Easter. I learned a few things from that experience, too. I am a performer, and I should use those skills to act out the dialogue. I mean, I know what the characters sound like, so why not?
Funny, you absorb all these tips about inflection and writing notes in the margins, but actually giving a reading, even to an audience of four, brings it all home. And then some. I’m really looking forward to doing it one day in a book store or event.
It should go well.
My Ma thinks I’m cool.
Cait Gordon has been a senior technical writer in high tech and government organizations. She is currently a Web Developer consultant for Dynamic Canvas Inc., and assistant to the Executive Director at H’Art of Ottawa. She also enjoys her crafting business, Cait Cards.