Sitting in my hotel room in San Antonio last week, taking a short rest from the AWP conference, I read an article in Poets & Writers called “Lessons From Last Night’s Reading,” penned by John Freeman.
Having been to dozens of readings in New York as a young man (and aspiring writer), Freeman had this to say:
Every single event holds the possibility that someone will leave changed – even the writer. The best writers on the road or on stage know that giving a reading or participating in an event isn’t simply a chance to say what they know. A good public event is more of a dialogue than that…(March 2020 edition of Poets & Writers)
It was one of those fortuitous moments where the thing you need to read falls into your hands right when you need it. Because I was feeling worn out. I’d been away from my family for over a week, doing the book tour and then continuing on to AWP, I was exhausted and I was thinking to myself: why am I doing all of this?
For The Love Of Words
But reading Freeman’s piece reminded me of why I’ve always enjoyed going to readings. There is something magical that happens in the room, when you get to hear an author talk about the art/craft/mystery of writing. And now, after almost a decade of work, I get to participate as the author. What an awesome privilege.
That’s how I was feeling at my reading in Santa Rosa. I had finally found a place of comfort in front of the crowd and was able to engage in a conversation with everyone in the room, not just the moderator. Then, sadly, while I was at AWP, concerns around the Coronavirus ticked up and things started getting canceled.
Change of Plans
Check it out. This is what the conference schedule looked like on Saturday after I slashed out all the canceled sessions:
That night, my event in Seattle got postponed indefinitely. Portland followed immediately after. Back home I got a call from Scripps, saying they too were postponing all events…
But there is one event holding out. If you’re in the OC, you can still join me at a fundraiser for Soroptimist International. Wine, books, and a good cause. Check out my events page for more info.
Taking it Online
On the plus side, I am getting invites to video conference in with a few book clubs. As it turns out, “142 Ostriches” makes for excellent quarantine reading.
Also, my Otherppl podcast interview went live on Sunday. You can check that out here. It’s looking like online engagement may be the way to go for the next few months, until all this COVID19 business clears up.
Thanks again to everyone out there who came to my earlier readings. And for those I’m not going to see next week – hang in there, stay well, and I’ll let you know when we reschedule my readings.