There is a first time for everything.

I just accepted an invitation from the lovely Ilona Martonfi to read at the Yellow Door Poetry and Prose Readings in the month of August.

I have done a public reading only once, and that was last summer at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival when I was presented a second place lit award. I sat next to Joel Yanofsky , who won a first place award, and saw how relaxed this established writer was, while my hands were slick with sweat. He engaged me in small talk to calm my nerves, and for that I am eternally grateful. On my other side was Jessica Block, whose knees rattled together being the first reader of the three of us, and whose wonderful reading settled me slightly more. But, this is the first time I have been invited to read!

I was never very good at public performances. Rather, I lay awake for nights prior dreading the moment I had to get up and speak or present. I’ve practiced in the last years. Attaining a graduate degree you have to present tons, reading at workshops, critique groups…I remember the first time I read in a writer’s circle with the Westmount branch of the Canadian Author’s Association – “Speak up! We can’t hear you! Slow down!”

I have become better, or rather I have gathered the courage to talk louder, slow down, and even look around while I read.

It should be great fun, and I thank Ilona for giving me this opportunity.

Now, I get to spend the next two months deciding what to read. A short or a novel excerpt? Something new, or old?

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17 thoughts on “There is a first time for everything.

  1. Jennifer, that is really awesome. I am the exact same way when it comes to performances and public speaking–I absolutely dread it. Congrats on the invite though, I’m sure it’ll be a blast!

  2. That’s awesome! Congratulations =)
    Relax, decide what you’re going to read, and practice.
    By the time you do it, it’ll be second nature and a lot easier, as the words will be familiar to you.
    How cool!! I’m excited for you!

  3. Congratulations, what a wonderful experience to have! I’m sure you will be wonderful. Pick something that you enjoy and you’ll convey that enjoyment to your audience.

    Teresa

  4. Try following the famous advice by picturing your audience naked. That wouldn’t work for me; I would laugh the whole way through.

    An agent (can’t remember who) blogged about a very funny incident to remember when you are nervous about your pitch session with an agent at conferences. She spoke of her week long diet of fried and fatty foods and of her gassy stomach issues she had during a meeting.
    The outcome was hilarious and would definately ease some jitters I have in the future about being nervous in front of people.

    • Thank you Tricia! yes, remembering they are just people is the trick.
      When I read last I was looking around, wondering if anyone was bored, were they even listening to me? People can’t believe that my mind was that active during a read. Ah well….gastro to the rescue! lol

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