It seems like most writers just show up with their book or their pages and start to read, but if I did that... well, how do I know what would happen if I did that, because I don't ever let myself do that. But when I read, my eyes are like the parent and my mouth is like the three year old who just squatted down and put that little yellow bug in his mouth. I just made up a metaphor in which a mouth puts something it its mouth, and that's weird, but I don't really have time to think up something better. An example is better. Like when I was guest reader with the Portland Fiction Project and looked down at my pages and recited that my closets were filled with beans.
Supposed to say jeans.
My wedding video is another example. Stephen and me reading the letters we wrote to each other as vows, and between my never having seen it before and my here-and-there trying-not-to-cry, I sound like one of those halting, robotic automated messages your doctor sends you to confirm your appointment.
This is how I practice. If I book a reading a month down the line, I tell myself I will go through the piece once a day all the way up to the event. This makes me feel very secure.
Then I get bored of that and by the time the reading comes around, I've read the piece through exactly seven and a half times, but that's far more times than most writers do, so I feel... well, at least a little bit secure.
Then on the day of the reading, I stay home from work knowing that I can spend all morning reading it to myself.
Instead I read it once and then go write a blog post about it.