Reading in public
Most nights there are faculty readings. I attended the first one last night.
Margaret Bechard read from her science fiction novel Spacer and Rat, which I've read. Laura Kvasnosky read a funny picture book work in progress about a bored little girl and her talking dog as well as a short story (a form she's trying since coming to Vermont). Marc Aronson read from a work in progress that's a history of prejudice (if I'm remembering right).
Afterward about a dozen of my classmates and I gathered in another room to read for five minutes in front of each other. I wasn't particularly in the mood. One woman had invited us for a glass of wine, and that was really speaking to me, but I went along with the reading thing.
In preparation I'd whisper read (didn't want anyone to hear me talking to myself in my room) a few pages of a story I'd sent my critique group in Iowa last month. It sounded horrible to me, so I decided against that. Instead I read three pages from the piece that's getting workshopped, the first two chapters of my YA mystery.
The variety in our class was pretty cool. Everybody who was there read. I don't know if it was peer pressure or what. I think it was the first time for some people. I was not particularly nervous because I hadn't had time to be. I hadn't been planning to do it. If I had, I probably would have hammed it up too much.
Reading in front of our peers is highly encouraged because we have to give a 20 minute reading during our last residency. Since I've been a teacher and given lots of presentation and done a little reading in public, this doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Maybe it should be.