Flying solo at a book reading

I attended an event last night, for the SWFA’s reader series.

And I went by myself.

I was originally going to attend with friend (and writer) Angel McCoy, but she had a slight schedule conflict called “being the guest of honor at a convention in Finland.” So I invited another coworker, who had family drop in unexpectedly and texted to say he couldn’t make it (a likely story).

I’m your average introvert. I can do parties as long as I’ve got backup, but I was flying solo. Typically, I’d say “screw it” and skip out, especially because my to-do list could rival Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver in terms of page count. I have a couch to finish disassembling, a book to finish writing, a book review I’ve been meaning to get around to, a short story critique I owe a friend, writing samples to polish, a website to take a fire axe to and rebuild, and a tabletop one-shot to finish planning…and I’m going to stop there, because sitting here and reminding myself of everything I need to do is not productive at this moment.

However, Jennifer Brozek was reading. Jenn is in my online writing group (there are five of us), and I really wanted to support her. Plus, she was going to read from her novel The Last Days at Salton Academy, which had me at “Night of the Living Dead meets Lord of the Flies.” So I had to be there.

Despite a few hiccups (I got lost trying to find parking, and I may have accidentally indicated I didn’t like one of the readings, which I’m going to be kicking myself over for a while), it was still worth it.

Connecting with local and visiting authors:

  • Helps build your support network
  • Puts you in touch with people who can offer valuable advice
  • Can help reinvigorate your interest in your own projects
  • Can help remind you what you love about writing and reading

Honestly, with everything going on, I’d set my novel aside for the past few weeks or so as a lower priority. After the talk, I went home and finished setting up my Trello productivity board in preparation for my next revision pass.

And flying solo meant that if I didn’t want to just sit by myself the whole time, I had to talk to new people. If I’d gone with friends, I probably would have kept mostly to them. Instead, I made a few new friends. (I’d never actually met Jenn in person before, so she counts as “new” here for my purposes.)

Reading Reviews

Leah Cutter’s excerpt from The Harps of the Six Kingdoms was fantastically imaginative. From what I could gather, it’s a story of poverty and inequality: the shame and outrage of not being able to afford fundamental services and the impact that not having access to resources has on people struggling to do without. The world she’s created is intriguing and mesmerizing, the sort you want to poke around in and explore. I kept having little moments of, “Hmm, okay, I want to know more about that. That’s interesting.”

Daryl Gregory read from Spoonbenders. This is directly from Goodreads: A generations-spanning family of psychics–both blessed and burdened by their abilities–must use their powers to save themselves from the CIA, the local mafia, and a skeptic hell-bent on discrediting them in this hilarious, tender, magical novel about the invisible forces that bind us. It was hilarious. It’s that really good sort of comedy that resonates because the characters, despite their “abilities,” feel so real.

Jennifer Brozek, as I said, read from The Last Days at Salton Academy. To tell you the truth, I’m a little tired of zombies (I’m not avoiding zombie books, but I’m not seeking them out, either) but I bought her book anyway. And not because I know her. She has other books I would’ve been drawn to first. I bought it, because I wanted to read it. It sounded really interesting, so I made my purchase before she even gave her reading. And then I realized I probably should have waited until after her reading, in case the book turned out to not be quite what I was expecting. But then she gave her performance, and I thought, “Nope, I did the right thing. I need to read this book for myself.”

Basically, I don’t have anything negative to say about any of the readings. All three of them were really good. All three of them made me want to read their books. And even though I was basically by myself, and it was kind of a stressful experience at moments, I had fun. It was worth it. Absolutely.





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