Oh, so many literary events! I am one lucky Chiquita banana. This week I have opportunities to attend THREE reading parties for young writers, though I can only go to two. Obviously, I can’t talk enough about Girls Write Now and what an enriching experience it has been for me. (A couple of days ago I wrote about my excitement for its upcoming reading series, CHAPTERS at the Center for Fiction on East 47th Street. You can come too, folks: this Friday night, from 6-8PM!)
Tomorrow morning, I will have the pleasure of going to my son’s fourth grade publishing party. I love publishing parties: the kids are all so proud of themselves, they dress up, we all bring food and we celebrate their efforts. A few will also read their work out loud, and I hope he will be one of them! He worked incredibly hard, writing two drafts by hand, and slaving away at the computer, taking hours to type it himself so that he could further revise and edit. He loves story, and appreciates how difficult it is to craft a good one.
But I am torn between two lovers, the two wonderful writing programs I am involved with, Girls Write Now and Writopia. They are both having readings on Friday at the same time! I teach fiction writing to kids at Writopia, and two of my students are going to be struttin’ their stuff at the Barnes and Noble on 82nd Street. (How I wish that I could clone myself.) It is an amazing privilege to workshop with these kids every week, to see their blood, sweat and tears and to challenge them to the next level. At Writopia, every six months, students get the chance to read at a professional venue, an invaluable experience.
I tell my students that reading your work aloud in a public forum is an important part of the process: it helps train you to connect with your readership, it helps you in the process of taking yourself seriously, it is another way of putting your words and yourself out there. Because as writers, that’s what we are doing: baring our souls.
What’s more . . . I’m also reading on Friday night, in a genre I’m not completely comfortable with! I’m starting to get nervous now, putting myself out there . . . what if people don’t like it? (What if people do?) What if nobody “gets” it? (What if they do?)
My own experience reading in public forums is limited to reading from a book I worked on for my grandmother that was published posthumously in May 2008, called The Joys of Love, but I wasn’t reading my own words.
Oh well, it’s a good thing I have beaucoup experience as a performer and in reading out loud to my three children – and I will have Meg by my side!