Both of my parents are ministers of religion. As such, I am no stranger to public speaking, often being called upon to do Bible readings or give my testimony. Nonetheless, I do not recall ever having to perform my own work in front of an audience and so the End of Term Reading at the MacRobert Arts Centre in Stirling posed a new challenge to me.
After much deliberation, I chose to read my short story ‘Surface Tension’. I was surprised by how few words I could fit into the five-minute time frame that I had been allocated. As such, I spent some time abridging the story so that the audience would get a feel for the narrative, despite not hearing it in its entirety. Additionally, I printed off a copy with a 14pt font and practiced reading it aloud a few times in my living room.
Psychologically, public speaking doesn’t often faze me. I would even go as far as to say I enjoy reading aloud to an audience. Physically, my hands get a bit shaky which makes turning pages unusually difficult. I imagine this is due to the adrenaline rush that I get before performing. I’m still working on ways to reduce this involuntary trembling, but I know that it’s a natural reaction and nothing to get frustrated about.
Writing can often be a lonely process and I suppose this is something that readings and spoken words events try to mitigate. It was lovely to hear the audience engage with the work that was performed. I wasn’t expecting people to audibly laugh at the humour in my piece, but they did, and it gave me a real boost.
Being able to listen to my classmates perform was a definite highlight for me. During the last two semesters, it has been a pleasure getting to know such a diverse group of writers. They have inspired me in ways that I was not expecting and their enthusiasm and passion for the written word is infectious.
The End of Term Reading was an enjoyable experience and a great way to wrap up the semester. It has inspired me to engage further with the writing community and I am now on the look-out for more readings I can get involved with.
Featured images courtesy of Sweet P Photography / The Write Angle.