Steve Brezenoff read from his new book THE ABSOLUTE VALUE OF -1 at Magers & Quinn. Steve and I met a year and a half ago at a Loft conference. He told me then about this book and in the time since has provided me with loads of useful info. It was a pleasure to get to see him and support him back! The book is told by four different narrators, one of which just has a bit part. Steve read us the first chapter of each of the others.
A lot of things come up when you watch someone you know read. Like: What parts will you use if your time ever comes? How would you answer that question from the back about inspiration? What will you do about the swearing parts when your mother-in-law is in the audience? Or worse, your grandma?!
I did once read my work in front of a crowd. It was required for my MFA degree. I was extremely pregnant at the time and couldn't breathe to save my life, partly because my lungs were scrunched to my throat and partly because I was standing in front of a room full of fellow writers and family. I wrote nonfiction back in grad school and had decided to read the vacuuming parts of my essays. What can I say, vacuuming then is a fact of my life. They also happened to be the funny parts. But I botched it all as I rushed through the whole thing panting and shaking.
Steve's reading was perfect. He paused to prepare us (and his MIL) for the swearing. He took his time and sips of water. He answered the inspiration question and even one about getting into character. He read his three narrators and they were funny and touching. It whet my appetite for the book (not that I wasn't already chomping at the bit). His reading did everything a reading should do. I wish you could have been there.