Monday, March 9, 2009

readings




When Hats & Eyeglasses first came out, I dreaded doing readings. I was nervous and stiff, and felt that I had to start at the beginning, so I would read the first 8 or 11 pages. When people would laugh, I would pause, purse my lips, and look up like a demented school-marm. That did the trick--- they would stop laughing at once. I can't really explain it-- it was like I felt embarrassed to be laughing at my own jokes, like that made me seem conceited or stuck up.

Then I had the amazing good fortune to read with Laura Shaine Cunningham (Sleeping Arrangements, A Place in the Country). Laura has been reading from those books for over twenty years, and yet she reads as if she has never seen the material before and it is THE funniest thing she ever read. She throws her head back and guffaws, and the audience roars its approval. I marveled at her, and she explained that she is genuinely proud of her work and loves to share it.

So I practiced. I read different parts of Hats & Eyeglasses, and people didn't seem to mind that I wasn't starting on page 1. I tried reading the funny parts, and the parts that made people squirm. And now I LOVE doing readings. It's my favorite part of being an author. I like the questions at the end, and I love connecting with the audience.

2 comments:

Mike Butson said...

Martha, I wonder, with such a close subject, are you able to read in the third person and detach yourself, or do you put yourself back in the seat again?

BTW, I just finished your book and plan to post thoughts on my own blog, along with some of the other walls and sidewalks I write on. All I can say right now, is that I truly understand that "writer's crush" which buzzed through your FB site recently. I'm so glad you found your gift.

oxox--mike butson

ks said...

The funniest people are the ones who laugh at their own jokes.
Keep it up!
Making yourself laugh is half the battle!
Hope I get to attend one some time.
xxooo