Word on the Street

I found out today that I will be reading an excerpt from “Bitter, Sweet” at the Word on the Street in Halifax on September 27th. I don’t mind admitting that it sort of threw me for a loop when I received the email. Sure, I had blindly replied “yes” when asked if I wanted to “participate” in the festival, naively thinking that I’d be there to promote my book, perhaps nod and smile at passersby— after all my book’s not out yet. What the heck am I going to read from? I guess I should have figured out that “participate” actually meant read but I’m not always so good at reading between the lines.

Of course my mind ran like wild fire for about a half hour after reading the email. I even phoned my sister to ask if there was possibly something wrong with me for not knowing exactly what was expected of me. There must have been something I missed in the email. “You will be reading at 1:30 at the kids and young adult stage.” Good news! According to my sister, the email was in fact vague. Nothing wrong with me—at least according to her. Perhaps a mistake had been made, I thought. She checked the schedule on line. Sure enough there I was,  Laura Best/ “Bitter, Sweet”

So I quickly emailed another author whose book is also coming out this fall with Nimbus to see if she is reading and guess what? She’s also reading from her yet to be published book.  Luckily, she was able to put things into perspective for me. She’s as much in the dark about this as I am but figures that we will be told later what to expect. I immediately felt as though I had found a kindred spirit, even began to dream that  there were others just like us out there somewhere—dazed and confused and wishing for a little more clarity. We first time authors are understandably naive. Didn’t help that neither of us had even attended the festival before.

I’ve read my work on several occasions in public but I like to have plenty of preparation. I want to know exactly how each word needs to be said, when and where to put emphasis. A lot of people assume that when you’re standing in front of a crowd that you’re nervous because you feel self-conscious about your looks or how you’re dressed. That’s never been my issue. For me it’s being able to read smoothly and clearly, to read in a way that will interest others, to make eye contact with the audience and not lose my place. I find it a bit nerve-wracking if I’m being honest. I suppose most people do. But this is all part of the territory.

A few years ago my husband and I went to Lunenburg to a Margaret Atwood reading when “The Tent” first came out.. On the way home he said, “That will be you some day reading in front of a crowd.” I really appreciated his support but didn’t dream that “some day” would come so quickly. Wish me luck on the 27th and hopefully by the time I get to the festival I’ll know exactly what I’m doing.

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12 Comments

  1. Sara

     /  September 14, 2009

    Good for you Laura!! Where in Halifax will you be reading?

    Reply
  2. Words on the Street is at the Cunard Centre. I’m hoping Matt will chauffeur me. I’m sure he knows how to get there.

    Reply
  3. Sara

     /  September 15, 2009

    Oh wow, not to far from me. Well I hope you have fun with the reading!! If not…make yourself have fun lmao. Im sure matt will be able to find it just fine. If not Mapquest!! he he he.

    Reply
  4. I always hate going into any situation cold but it generally turns out okay. I’m sure your reading will go just fine. Congratulations on the invitation to take part! That’s exciting!

    If I were in your shoes though, I would be replying to the e-mail to express thanks for the confirmation of your participation and inquire as to how much time you should plan to allot for your reading. Then you’ll be able to practice reading aloud some of the more interesting sections of your story until you’ve found one that will fit the time requirement.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the advise Carol. I really appreciate it. I’ve since been in contact with Nimbus to find out what’s expected of me. My problem (if you call it a problem) is this the section I’d really like to read I find quite emotional and have a difficult time getting through it just reading at home. I know that might sound silly because I didn’t particularly find it emotional while I was writing it (But hey, I’m a mother and the mother is sick and dying) and I’ve worked so much on the manuscript you’d think I’d be sick of it.. So do I just go with something “safe” or hope that the nerves I’ll feel that day will drown out anything else that’s going on? I have a week to figure it out.

      Reply
      • Oooh, that’s a tough one! I suspect my nerves would make me even more emotional, but that’s just me. For a first time reading I’m pretty sure I’d be choosing something safer.

        Is that section just a favourite one of yours or is it one that will give your target audience (YA’s?) a reflection of what the overall story is about, and will it hook them enough to want to know more and thus buy the book when it comes out? Whatever you choose, you’ll bring it to the audience with your unique voice and spirit. Whether you get emotional or not, they will glimpse the individuality of the author and will love the experience. :)

        Reply
  5. rachelhestondavis

     /  September 18, 2009

    Congratulations, Laura! It’s always nice to get involved in something like that, even “by accident” as it were. :)

    Rachel Heston Davis
    Up and Writing

    Reply
  6. How exciting! I wish you good luck and perfect enunciation and emphasis.

    Reply
    • Thanks Linda,

      I’m trying not to over think about it. And I guess something to keep in mind is that even though we may write it doesn’t necessarily make as great public speakers. Nor do we have to be great public speakers.

      Reply
  7. OOOhhh, this is exciting!! Reading from your first published novel!! You will do great!

    Reply

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