Saturday, 9 August 2014
Nowhere to Hide
Sometimes I want to hide.
It all started when I was invited by a lovely fellow writer from the town where I live, to join other writers at her house. It would be a chance to listen to each others work. "Lovely," I hear you say and of course you would be right: evenings like this are lovely... unless you are me!
So what is the problem?
Well to start with, I don't particularly like groups. I love meeting up with two, three or even four people, and will often be the one to instigate such events, but more than that and the pleasure subsides and dread slips in. If I don't know anyone, then that is even worse.
I love writing and I love my work being read... in a magazine, in someone else's head, in the privacy of their own home. Reading my own work? That's a different matter.
Patsy Collins asked what it is that makes me so nervous at the thought of reading my work out and I found it easy to answer. Firstly, I can't get over the feeling that reading something you've written might be viewed as showing off - which of course is stupid, if you've been asked to do it. The main problem, though, is I'm not a limelight person, which is why I like to sing in an 80 strong choir and only ever dream of singing a solo; or why I love dancing in a sea of other dancers but if the spotlight fell on me... ooh er!
Also, I'm quite a perfectionist - if I can't do something to the best of my ability (sing, dance, write) then I'd rather not do it at all. If I read out my work and stutter, stumble and lose my place then, in my eyes, I've failed.
So what did I do last night? Well, I could easily have made an excuse and stayed at home but I didn't - I made myself go. Writing buddy Tracy Fells collected me from my house and when the time came, I didn't chicken out but volunteered to read second (better that waiting the whole evening getting more and more nervous).
And did I muck it up? Luckily no - after all I've had 20 years experience of reading to a class of children - but I think my tomato red face clashed with the walls!
Of course, it was a lovely evening, with an interesting variety of prose and poetry and some wonderful cakes. I could so easily have missed out.
If I'm asked again, I shall be happy to read something else and I know that each time it will be easier. By the time I have to do author readings in Waterstones it will be a doddle... but I might have to duck the flying pigs first :)