Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Next Reading

An annual event called American Days in Stuttgart is nearly here, and the writing group I'm a part of is participating again this year.  Last year, my introduction to this fantastic group of writers was their last night of the public readings they did as a part of American Days.  Their stories were moving, hilarious, and brave, and I was instantly in awe of their courage to share, as well as their respective styles and talent.  Now it's my turn to jump in and try not to wet my pants in front of an audience.

The very first time I read something I'd written in front of actual people was this past December.  The Writer's Group has a relationship with Starbucks, and has staged readings at a couple downtown locations before.  The writers appreciate the opportunity to share their work, and Starbucks enjoys the extra business.  So it was near Christmastime when the group held a reading at the coffee house, and I helped wrap up the evening with a short story.  I've always been terrified of speaking in front of people, from elementary schoolbook reports to saying thank you and goodbye to the people of Chris' last office at the Farewell.  Writing, any artistic medium really, is deeply personal by nature and sharing it can be scary for anyone, I think.  So standing up in front of real life people and actually sharing a piece of my own writing should have had me going out of my mind.  But it didn't; it was weird.  I was excited.  I practiced with Chris and I edited, and I was slightly thrilled to be doing it.  When the night came, I got up, read my piece (without incident or stutter), and took my seat.  I didn't start trembling until after I finished, but it was amazing.  I hadn't puked or anything, the nerves had backed down.

American Days will bring about my second time out to read publicly, and I think I may be more nervous this time than the last.  I have no idea what to read.  I feel like there's only so much creative energy in my body at any given time, and once I've exhausted it, it takes a little time to build back up again.  Usually by the next day.  Since I've taken on this blog, most of my creative energy has gone into trying to write something worth reading every day, and I haven't been able to sit down to work on anything fictional.  It's time to start prioritizing creative projects, as I'm also itching to start some photography projects, as well.  There just isn't enough time in the day.  I can't wait till summer break, the biggest joy of working at an elementary school.  And though we'll be fairly busy here and there this summer with music festivals, trips, and a guest, I'm very much looking forward to a little bit of time where I can focus all (well, most) of my attention on creative ventures.

So what to write, what to write...what would people attending events that celebrate the relationship between Germans and Americans want to hear about at a coffee house reading?  I've got one week till our next Writer's Group meeting, where I'll be able to share what I plan to read to get feedback.  Now I just need a decent idea...

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