My First Reading

Last Tuesday night I read my own work in front of an audience for the first time at Word Soup 7, a live-lit night in Preston, run by the Preston Writing Network and They Eat Culture, an arts organisation for the Preston area. 

Some of the students on my MA have taken over the running of Bewilderbliss magazine, and Jenn Ashworth, compère extraordinaire, give Bewilderbliss a fifteen minute spot at the November Word Soup to promote the magazine (speaking of which, submissions for issue three are open until the first of December, prose up to 2000 words, or up to three poems, check out the website for more details!)  Anyway, I'm not hugely involved in the magazine, other than some occasional blogging on the site, but I was one of four students on our course who read pieces during the Bewilderbliss slot.  I was something of a trembling wreck up on the stage, but I didn't trip over the words, and my piece, a rather macabre bit of flash fiction (as yet unpublished, though I shall persevere) got a few laughs, and two of the other readers (proper novelists and poets, no less!) came up to me afterwards and told me they enjoyed my piece.  So it went really well, and that's a life-hurdle-thingy to tick off the list - talking to a crowd and not dying or falling over. 

The other readers were excellent - I was particularly taken by Mollie Baxter, whose poem about her flat and its mould and dodgy windows elicited a sigh of recognition from our table, Carol Fenlon, whose extract from Consider the Lillies, a novel about a feral child in the Morecambe area, made me buy the book during the interval, and Thomas Fletcher, whose creepy story and mesmerising reading, really, really creeped me out.

PS: God only know why I'm doing this, but here's a video of me reading.  Not that you'll make out a word I'm saying, with the uselessness of my delivery.  The lessons I've learned from watching the video are (a) my voice DOES sound ridiculous, (b) I seem to stand in a bizarre way that makes me look pregnant or weirdly belly-heavy, and (c) slow the fuck down, woman.  The other people on video are all way better, so watch them instead, and we'll all be happy.


Sulci Collective said...

Well done. It is such a buzz performing in public. And there is a community among the performers.

marc nash

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Thanks Marc; it was pretty exhilerating!

Carol Fenlon said...

I thought your reading was fine, don't knock yourself. Hope to catch you again somewhere.

Valerie O'Riordan said...

Thanks Carol! Consider The Lilies is coming up swiftly in my To Be Read pile - can't wait!