The Fort Saskatchewan writing group I belong to, the Paragraffers, held a public reading for it’s members Sunday at Shell Theatre located at the Dow Centennial Center. Any member who wished to was able to participate and our leader, Kathie, even invited the nearby Strathcona group to participate if they were inclined. I decided early on that I would be reading from the novel I am working on and chose a shorter chapter that I shared not only with the Fort group but with my writing group, WOW back in Des Moines. It was one of the first scenes I wrote for the novel and it might not survive to the final draft, but I like the flow and the way it advances character and plot and I love the dialogue.
I admit to a little bit of nervousness when I was introduced by Dick Easton, one of the Fort members who is also the editor of the group’s newsletter, but as soon as I began speaking, and then reading, I felt right at home. It was a feeling almost akin to the one I had when I did my practicum for teaching, which is the first class they have prospective education majors take to give them a bit of a taste of what it is like in a real classroom with real kids. The first time I stepped foot in a seventh grade language arts class, I knew I was right where I belonged. That I could do this. Teach. Manage large groups of kids. And that I could do it really well. Reading my piece today in front of an audience, that was small – between 15 and 20 – I knew I could do this part of the writing. The author thing. I love writing, and oddly, for me, I love reading my stuff to people and talking about the process. I say oddly because I am a very shy person. I don’t like the spotlight. But, when it comes to writing, as with teaching, that shy part of me evaporates as though it was never there.
Rob and Katy came to hear me and the others. Rob shot a digital video of my segment and took pictures of the other participants as there was no one else there taking photos. I am going to write up a short piece for the local paper and send it along with a few of Rob’s photos (he is kinda thrilled about the prospect of having one of his photos in the paper with a credit).
All in all, a perfectly lovely afternoon. I still feel wonderful about how it went and my performance. Another step on the road to writing for a living.