Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Is It the Readings, Or Is It Me?

Went to a reading, enjoyed parts of it and have analyzed what I enjoyed. I liked a well-told story, which let me ride a rollercoaster of emotions, such as tension, pity, triumph, and "oh no, not that," all in various shades and tints. If there was a story, I dug it. If there was humor, I dug it. If it was a descriptive passage or a scene instead of a full story, or was emotionally monotoned, or if it was beautifully written and only that, I liked it less. Meeting and chatting with the people there was pure pleasure.

Reluctance to attend readings might be a phase I'm going through. Maybe the trouble isn't with the readings, or the book promotions (why should bookselling ever bother me, of all people?!!?). It might not even be trouble. It might just be that getting older I feel more strongly the very distracting snap, crackle and pop of passing time. Or I have saddled myself with too much to do, and going to readings feels like just another obligation, and because I must sprint to the car and get to the next thing I must do, the readings don't refresh and inspire me as they used to.


  1. Went to a reading. Perhaps the same one as you. While my reactions to the readers was about the same as yours, I still like going. More often than not, it's in a range from great to pretty good and I feel it was time well spent. And it's a social evening out with a friend enjoying the experience.

  2. So much of it depends upon my mood. When I am deep into work, a reading can feel like another interruption looming over my head. I am on boards and required to attend some. I have guilt because I want to support all of those I love. But heck, this is a busy town, there are readings most every night nowadays, and I love a lot of people! I am trying to let some of that go and just attend when I feel called to be there.

  3. I can relate to what Catherine is saying, particulary, maybe exclusively, regarding the readings in which I don't have a friendship with the poet. If I have a friendship with the poet, I generally just feel pleasure in supporting her/him. But, if it's a reading from an out of town poet, or folks I don't know at all and I'm attending in the hopes of gaining some creative spark for myself, I feel there is a parallel between going to that type of reading and playing/winning a low stakes lottery. Sometimes there are really bright moments or inspiration and usually there is at least one per reading I attend. I hold on to those moments and try to take notes if I can. Sometimes, if I find a poet tedious or uninterested in the audience, I feel frustrated and even angry that my precious little free time is being spent in this way.