My First Reading

June 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Last night I gave my first live reading ever, in a crowded room at the KGB Bar in Manhattan as part of the first-ever Fictionaut summer bash. It was a thrill to meet a number of people I had previously known only through their tiny avatars and their postings on Fictionaut and Facebook. For the open mic I decided to read an excerpt from a short story in progress titled (for now) “Shock of the World.” I chose it because I felt it had an interesting first-person voice and semi-satisfying ending, and even though I blurred through some of the words by reading too fast, it seemed to go over well.

I was more nervous heading into the event than I probably should have been, but when the announcement for the event came out, I felt it was something I had to do. It turned out I only had three minutes to get my reading in, as the KGB owners are rather strict about cutting off the microphone at 9:00 PM and there were a lot of people who signed up to read. The hostess who organized the event, Susan Tepper, deserves credit for keeping things moving so that we just got everyone in under the wire.

Fictionaut has had a major impact on my growth as a writer, not only in terms of confidence, but motivation. It is easier to jump back into the process of writing knowing that past attempts have been met with careful, considered feedback (even when negative), and that with them comes the natural expectation that you continue to work at your craft. I tend to abandon it when I am working on larger stories, then wade back into it when I am stuck or feel I need to re-train myself on some fundamental aspect of writing that may have loosened itself from the mooring.

And then, today, before we left the city, H. & I stopped at the Strand. The last thing I needed was an opportunity to add to my pile of unread books, but here’s a list of what I picked up:

A Moveable Feast, restored edition

The Enthusiast, Charlie Haas

Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, Ben Loory

One More Year, Sana Krasikov

The Groucho Letters, Groucho Marx (used edition from 1967, second printing)

Haas and Krasikov had been on my Wish List for a while. It just so happened that Ben Loory had been sitting next to me for most of the evening, and I only chatted with him for a minute or so. His name was familiar to me, but I assumed that was only through Fictionaut (the influx of members lately has made it harder to remember who wrote what). I had enjoyed the selection (another work in progress) that he read at KGB, and told him as much, and then lo and behold I’m scanning the Ls at the Strand today and there’s his book. Ever so humble! He’s been published in The New Yorker and everything. It turned out he had journeyed all the way from Los Angeles for the party. Knowing this, I now wish I had talked to him more, but that applies to just about everyone who was there.


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