Michele Regenold, Writing for Kids from the Boondocks

A blog about writing for children and the quest for publication.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Reading from my work

One of the graduation requirements during the final residency is to read from the work we produced during our time at Vermont College. I was a little nervous about this.

The night before my reading I went out for supper with another student and Margaret Bechard, my 3rd-semester advisor. Margaret would be introducing me because my 4th-semester advisor, Ellen Howard, was unable to come to this residency. I asked Margaret what she was going to say in her intro. I wanted to make sure it was nothing mushy. She assured me it was not.

As the day approached (last Wed.), my anxiety mounted, and I finally realized why I was so anxious. It wasn't the reading itself so much as fear of getting choked up in front of an audience.

To help ease my tension, I drank another helpful, foamy beverage during the lecture right before the reading. My classmate, Mary Atkinson, read first from her wonderful middle grade novel. I listened carefully and was totally absorbed in her story.

Then Margaret Bechard went to the podium and I held my breath. She said she had fun working with me on my critical thesis on girl detective fiction (she thought she had more fun than I did--not true except for when she suggested I add another 10 pages or so, which I declined). She then relayed some of Ellen Howard's unmushy comments--that I was an easy student to work with and that she was proud of how far I'd come.

When I got to the podium, I could tell that, despite the helpful beverage, I still wouldn't be able to keep it together if I thanked people, as VC custom dictates. Instead, I said I had to forego the traditional thank yous in order to maintain my composure. And then I read my YA short story about a family shopping trip.

As Ellen Howard had suggested, I had practiced it several times, so I was able to read it with inflection and make it more of a performance. It was easier than I had expected. And then I gave my advisors the calligraphy pieces I'd prepared for them and happily accepted their congratulations.

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At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is exactly what some people think is missing from your writing...the emotions that you hide so well...write it all down now so you can make use of it later. You're lack of emotion on a more regular basis throws some people so you can use this experience to your advantage now:) Bonus!


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