Last night was my first experience with reading a piece of a published essay at a book event. The book is STRICKEN, The 5,000 Stages of Grief. And WOW! The reading was an amazing event. The local independent book store ( Book People) expected (set up chairs for) about 50 people and closer to 200 showed up - maybe more. They stood and milled all around in back and way off to the sides of the original seating area, so it was hard to tell. My friend, one of the co-editors (Spike Gillespe) is quite a local character and much loved in liberal Austin circles. She was a wonderful host for the proceeding and said kind things about many of us who read, and about me in particular. Ruth, Chris, Ruth's friend Bryn my business partner Bill, and several clients and friends came mostly for me, and the support felt great.
I think I read well - Ruth and Chris and Bryn said I read well. I'd been really nervous for most of a week, but calmed down as time got closer and after I had practiced and timed my reading about 20 times ( Who has or at least an anxiety disorder and a tendency to over prepare? Not me, never!) Five minutes goes fast in a reading. I had to edit carefully to stay in the time allotted. I was also calmed and centered greatly by the advice of a friend to remember the needs of the audience, rather than focusing on my own feelings. That worked.
Apparently I brought many people to tears, which was not my intention, but which was OK in a grief context. I was moved to tears myself by the pain and recovery and impressed by the writing of many of the other contributors. I got amazing lengthy applause, which felt good - and the books sold fast enough that the book store people had to replace the initial stash on the table up front. Contributors will get our books soon. The books are available for prepurchase on line and will will be widely available in Mach. There's actually a social network for contributors too and fans of the book, which is kind of cool. I just joined. http://strickenbygrief.ning.com/ One can also purchase books there.