…Because I’m Terrified
People are waiting. Their impatient murmurs intermingle with squeaking chairs. Books guard the surrounding walls; their shiny spines glowering down on me with contempt. I’m trapped behind a little table covered with frivolous pink books, one of which is about to be cracked open so I can spread its poetic guts out among the audience. Slowly I stand; my throat is lined with sandpaper. I blurt a few lines out, trying hard not to flip my tongue too quickly over the words. The poem’s conclusion is swallowed by a discontented silence.
Thankfully, this is a horrible fantasy.
My first book reading for “Bright Pink Ink” is coming up, which is a happy thing, but lately all I can imagine is the above nightmare scenario. This event is daunting and a dream come true all at once. A new bookstore in town, By The Book, has graciously allowed to host me and my poetry for two hours. My little self published book is going to be showcased for 120 minutes. My skin is abuzz with excitement. 120 minutes need to be filled and my preposterous little collection is only thirty seven pages long. I am clammy with nerves. How am I going to keep people entertained for that long? WILL there be people to entertain? More importantly–how am I going to keep from embarrassing myself for that amount of time?
The reading may be a month away, but time flies (more like gallops) and soon it will be upon me. While I flounder through these puddles of trepidation, I am still buoyed by the fact that I will be making my first appearance as a published poet. This reading may end up resembling my nightmare but then again it may not; however, it is, most importantly, my reading. I wrote a book, got it published and found the confidence to ask a bookstore if my material could be shown on the shelves.
Now it seems I have two choices before me. I can either seclude myself in my home and try to get this over with as quickly as possible or I can utilize this nervous energy to go paint Corpus Christi, TX every shade of pink known to humanity.
I think pink.
This month if you happen to bump into me, you will hear me mumbling stanzas to myself, making odd noises as I practice elocution exercises and papering everyone I see (which will include you) with flyers for my reading. You may also find me gripping a rugby ball in fear at the very thought of this reading from time to time. This will no doubt aggravate my teammates quite a bit as it will keep us from moving on in practice.
But if you do not see me this month, I hope to see you next month at By The Book. Your presence will provide a warm beacon of comfort and support. And do one more thing for me. Be bold, fellow writers. Ask your library, your local bookstore, your favorite shop if they wouldn’t mind having you share your book with the public for an hour or two.
I will do my best to be there.