Once in school, I had to make a speech in which I demonstrated a unique skill I had. At the time, my most unique skill was staring at objects and failing to move them with telekinetic mind power, so I decided to do my speech on calligraphy. I was so terrified that when the teacher called my name, I went up there and said that, before I could start, I had to write a few examples on the chalk board.
As I started drawing a fancy capital A, the teacher let the next kid step up for his turn. I realized somewhere in the middle of the letter C that no one was paying attention to me anymore. Kids came up to give their speeches and I just kept drawing letters. Slowly and carefully since calligraphy takes time to do right. By the time I got to Z, it was the end of class, and I got up there and said something about how the tip of the calligraphy pen is slanted, and the bell rang. It was the best speech I ever had to give in my life.
I think back then, had I heard that writers give readings, I would have given up my ambitions right there. Writing seemed lovely because, among other things, you got to have a voice without having to speak out loud. And here I am getting ready to do two readings in one night. With no chalk board.
This Sunday, March 6:
5:00pm - A Night of Story and Song
At Backspace - 115 NW 5th Ave., Portland
I'll be reading with Emily Chenoweth, Margaret Malone and Nora Robertson, along with writers from Portland State's writing community. Musical guests will be Leaves Russell.
7:00pm - Spokensong
At Three Friends Coffee House - 201 SE 12th & Ash, Portland
With poets Anatoly Molotkov and John Sibley Williams, and folk musician Eric Mckuen. I'll be reading a number of short pieces, including one coming out soon in Thumbnail Magazine. The reading is split into two sets with an intermission. Since I'm reading before and after the break, can I call it three readings? That would be even cooler.