Okay, I’m trying out this Flickr thing, so not sure I’m going to get it right. Here’s moi. The link for the other photos I’ve uploaded so far is here.
It was a good session. It was also my first time reading to an audience, and yeah, I was nervous. The first glitch for me came when I had to use a microphone (all the ladies did, though our one gentleman, an accomplished public reader, did not). I had planned to hold my excerpt up, podium style, and read from it while making good eye contact with the audience. With the microphone, I had to leave the binder flat on the table and look down (I’d printed my excerpt in big type and put it in a 3-ring binder for ease in reading). Now, I’m not too tall, so I couldn’t hold the microphone directly beneath my mouth and look down because there wasn’t enough room between my face and the table to comfortably do that for long. So, I had to hold it kind of sideways.
Secondly, my husband tells me after that he could barely hear me at points. I’m like, “Dude, I asked if everyone could hear me when I started and you said yes!” He said, “Yeah, but then you moved the microphone away. Not always, but sometimes.” He found the librarian to turn up the speaker AFTER I’d finished. *sigh*
I followed Michael Little, who is a great reader and hilarious too. My story is not hilarious, but I managed to get laughs in appropriate places. And I started off funny by introducing myself as Lynn Raye Harris, not to be confused with E. Lynn Harris, the bestselling author who is male, African-American, and writes about gay characters. That got a good laugh, which made me happy.
But, yes, I felt my hand shaking from time to time, and that made me conscious of it all the more. And, though they provided water for us, my mouth got really dry as I read. I’d failed to follow Michael’s advice to suck on a cough drop right before the reading. 🙁
We had a couple of questions afterward, one by a young girl who wanted to know why we wrote books and what made us want to do it. I answered first. I tried to relate it to her by telling her it started when I was a little girl and I wanted to draw, but couldn’t, so wrote instead. Then I told her about going into the bookstore and realizing they didn’t have the story I wanted to read so I went home and wrote it. I think that’s how a lot of writers get started is by writing what you want to read and can’t find.
We spent some time after talking to the people who’d come for the reading, and we sold at least one book. Not a lot, I know, but it’s a library reading, not a bookstore, so I was pleased with that. And, she asked each of us to sign our stories, so that was fun. I’ve signed this book a few times now, and each time is still a thrill.
Finally, we wrapped it up and the four of us, plus my husband, went to dinner. I resisted the temptation to have a margarita, but I sure wanted one (we’re back on our workout diet, damn it).
I learned a lot by that one reading, let me tell you. I learned that I don’t like it, but that I want to do it again. I learned that cough drops are probably a good thing. I learned that I need to practice with a microphone. I learned that I need to prepare some answers to hypothetical questions. I learned that it isn’t a good idea to rattle on and on about yourself (no, I didn’t do that). I learned that even if I think I’m loud, I’m not. I learned that people like to be told stories and they’re there because they want to be. I learned that even when you don’t think you’ve done anything very important, there’s at least one person out there in the audience who looks up to you and wants to be where you are someday.
So, overall, it was a fun and educational experience. And it was kind of like being a princess for a couple of hours too. 🙂 I’ll do it again, if I’m so fortunate, and hopefully I’ll be more polished when I do.