Excellent advice for those difficult readings. I have an anthologized essay I doubt I could get through in public, but I’ll keep this in mind.
We’ve all been at that reading. The one where our fellow memoirist clears her throat, steps to the podium, and shares with us the graphic details of her sex life. Or molestation. Or domestic abuse.
We’ve all cringed that cringe. We’ve all felt I’m so sorry this happened to you, but maybe a roomful of strangers about to go eat dubious cheese cubes together is not the place. We’ve all thought, Can’t I just read this in your book, you know…later? We’ve all walked up after the reading and said, “Wow, that was so brave!”
And sometimes we’ve been that author. Possibly oblivious, possibly aware that suddenly the room has gone quiet in a not-good way and only our workshop leader is making supportive, professional eye contact.
But sometimes, that’s the piece you’ve gotta read.
So how can an author approach “difficult material” in a public reading, in a way…
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