Last week, I recorded myself reading one of my short stories for The Other Stories Podcast.
I guess I’ve always thought of writing in this solitary way. It’s me and my computer and my post-its and my thoughts. And sure, I bounce those thoughts off of trusted friends, but, generally speaking, my writing exists in my head. Reading it out loud to an audience–even just my audience of two–made me remember when I was in New York two years ago, listening to my short story More Class Than Custard being read by actor Michael Petrocelli for Liars’ League NYC. I sat there petrified as he read, my mind ping-ponging between amazement at the way he read my characters and mortification at the audience’s response. I remembered thinking, “That’s not how I hear that character . . .” etc, and here was my chance to get it right!
But I’m not really sure I did get it right, even as the writer.
I felt, perhaps more critically than necessary, that the writing came out stilted. I noticed painful repetitions of sentence structures. I noticed parts of the story that just, honestly, didn’t work.
I’ve always made a point of reading out loud certain drafts of short stories, especially when I feel like they are almost ready to send out into the world, but reading in a whispered monotone to myself is a very different experience than reading in a studio with a mic up to my face and two men sitting by listening for me to flub a line so they can stop recording.
It was still a fun experience, and I want to thank my friend Garth and his Del-Fi bandmate Steve for letting me steal their practice time in the advancement of my own art! More details on when that podcast will go live to follow in the next few weeks.