the literary life 9/12/10
So I read at Skylight Books tonight in L.A. to celebrate the release of Strange Cargo, an anthology of writing by former Pen Fellows. Here's a link to the release: http://www.penusa.org/node/144
Anyway, the reading was good. I hadn't done a reading in public since March/April, so it was important to get out. It went well. The audience laughed at my poems, and several people were kind enough to come up to me afterwards and say something encouraging. One woman, however, another former EV, marched up to me right after the event and told me I had read my first poem too fast for her liking (I read three poems in total). She was kind of smug about it too. I probably did read too fast, but I thought it was crass of her to mention it right then, right after the event when I was still enjoying the buzz of having read my work in public. Is it wrong for me to think that's rude? Did she think she was being helpful? I was struck by how writers can become editors at the wrong moment, probably due to some personal agenda. I'm open to feedback and improving my performance, but I think there's a time and place for critique as well as a time and place for support. So besides that, it was nice to get out, and I feel like getting back in the swing of doing more readings. It's a reminder of the community of the writing life--how big and wide and vulnerable it is.