Monday, October 16, 2006

Well, I successfully got through a great two weekends of events and had a great time doing them. The Friday before The Big Read, I did a radio interview on the St. Louis NPR radio station. It wasn’t until that day that I thought and realized that it was actually my very first in-studio radio interview. I didn’t know if I was going to be nervous or not, but when I got there and did it, I found it was virtually impossible to be nervous. Because even though you have a large audience, you don’t see them. So I felt comfortable freely answering the interviewer’s questions and engaging in conversation. Okay, so that’s one part of speaking that I do like!

Then the next day was the actual event. I did a panel from 11:30am to 1:00 pm with Eric Jerome Dickey and Professor Eugene Redmond of SIUE. When we first got there, there were only people in the first three rows or so. Very light crowd. And I confess, while I wanted a large crowd for sales, seeing the small crowd made me feel comfortable in speaking. And before our panel, I mentioned to Eric how this was the part that I disliked the most and he gave me tips right there on the spot and talked to me about doing speaking engagements in general. Told me of some of his experiences and how he still gets nervous. So that was cool. And by the time I spoke after him, I was completely cool. The room filled up a lot more as the panel continued and I kept my cool! I read from First Fridays for the first time. Not surprisingly, I waited until the last minute to pick a passage to read. And this experience is different because unlike the first book, I haven’t had a reader to read First Fridays. So, I don’t know what the reaction will be. So, I read my excerpt and during my reading, people are just laughing and laughing. And I’m listening, and even Eric and Eugene are on the stage behind me laughing. And I’m thinking…. “WOW!!!! They like it!!! They REALLY like it!” LOL

But it was a really cool event and I had a really great time. I’m definitely looking forward to participating in The Big Read next year!