Monday, January 24, 2011

Writers Reading

I went to hear 5 writers reading their work last week and, though all 5 were present, I ended up hearing 1-1/2 of them.

I got a coughing fit, which I do when I don’t realize that I’m angry. The knees of the publisher sitting next to me were jumping out of control. Because we couldn’t hear most of what was being read to us.

Always on the side of the performer, I’ve tended to blame the sound system for my hearing problems in that hall. But not this time. Not after being able to hear 1 out of 5 clearly.

What went wrong? Let me count the ways:

Did they practice with the sound system? I doubt it.

They rushed, giving us no time to hear a word before they went on to the next one. An audience of 100 people needs more time to assimilate what it hears than does a group of 6.

They were not sharing the work with us. They were reading into an auditorium with people in it.

They were not reliving the stories they’d written. They were just reading the words.

1 of the writers avoided all these problems. She was engaged in her stories; she embraced the audience; we heard every word.

Did I mention that I was sitting next to a publisher? His knees stopped jiggling. He said, “I need to sign her.”