the circular runner

my first big reading in SF…Shel Silverstein & Me…

In life, observations, writers & books, writing on July 8, 2011 at 8:46 am

This past Monday, I read at Quiet Lightning, which was a pretty great experience.  I don’t think of myself as being much of a performer, but it’s wonderful to read something in front of people who like to sit back and really listen.  Considering it was a holiday, I have to say I was pretty impressed by the turnout.  I also was impressed by the kinds of comments I got after I was done.

I know that as a writer, you send stuff out into the world and then you can’t control it any longer.  You think you’ve written one kind of story, and if everyone reading it decides it’s something else, well then guess what, you were wrong.  I mention this because the piece I read, which like many of my stories is a little dark, is about a man dealing with the death of his daughter.  This is not a naturalistic/realistic story, mind you.  My fiction is often a little quirky and almost always has something of the fantastical about it–though I will say it now, I do not write fantasy.  If you’re interested, you can read the story for yourself.  (Click here and have your mind blown).

If you’re still with me, I’ll take it that you are not into mind-blowing, or you want to stay with me to see where I’m going.  Fine.  What I was going to say was that after I sat down, I got a couple nice people congratulating me and then I got a woman who looked as if she were going to cry.  After a couple minutes of her complimenting me, she tells me that my poem (it’s a short story) was beautiful, and that she just cannot believe how well I’m holding up.  I told her I am a fiction writer, which seemed to make her feel better, and then she told me that she was amazed that the piece was fiction because I sounded so sad as I was reading.  So maybe I’m a performer, after all.

Of course, she also told me in the same conversation that I should think about writing fiction for children because I really captured the child’s voice.  And then she told me I look like Shel Silverstein, which I’ve heard before.  Let me take these strange comments in order.  First off, though I could see myself writing fiction for kids, this story is most definitely not for the little ones unless those little ones like hearing about other little ones vanishing forever.  Also, the narrator is a father speaking about his child.  The child never speaks for herself, so I’m not sure what she was getting at.  These are quibbles, I know.  I should just be glad that she listened, and I am.  But where she lost me was with the Shel Silverstein comment.  I may be bald and I have a beard, but really?  Really?  I mean, look at this guy:

Think what you will, good people, but I’m here to say it: not all bald men with beards look alike.  We are different.  We are individuals!!  Respect!

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