People write for different reasons, but most people who write hope to be read. One of the strange things about writing in the non-blog world is that getting an audience requires participation in the big, strange world of the publishing industry. And even with a blog, although I see site stats and referrals on a daily basis, it’s tricky to know who came by in hope of porn and so soon left, and who read page after page until their life was changed.
This is one of the reasons, since coming to the States, that I’ve come to love public readings. People gather, and a poet, or story writer, or essayist stands up and reads aloud his or her work, and during those minutes, the writer can no longer complain about the foolishness of editors or agents, and the audience, hopefully, is no longer distracted by mobile phones and facebook. Everyone makes eye contact.
The other good thing about reading work aloud is that I can read it the way I’d like it to be read. I don’t do accents or voices when I read, but by pacing my sentences, I give the narration a personality.
As a result, I’m fond of starting and running reading series-es. The one I’m MCing on Saturday, at Bodhi Coffee, should be a good mix of planned readers and open mic-ers, a good mix of old writers and new. The scheduled readers are : Randall Brown, the director of the Rosemont College MFA, and Chris Bullard, a federal judge and published poet, as well as my friend and room mate, the short story and novel writer Matt Blasi. If you’re in the Philly area, come by. And I’m planning to make these readings at Bodhi a regular thing, so if you are a Philly/South Jersey based writer, drop me a line.