Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Reading Day

I’m likely to break with tradition this week and either post twice today, or again tomorrow. It’s my blog, and I can do what I want here, after all. Today is reading day for our Writers’ Circle, beginning around 5:30 the first of our members will take the stage in front of an audience that will number somewhat more than 0 and hopefully less than 100. I get to go next to last, so by the time it’s my turn, my shirt will probably be wet enough to wring out and fill a barrel. That’s really kind of disgusting, isn’t it?

We got our books yesterday, here’s a snapshot (I’m not a great photographer, and the light is bad). It looks pretty good. The powers that be used Lulu for the publishing. It’s slim, 76 pages or so, but looks really nice. Photographs and artwork are included, all the works of multi-talented members of the Smithy Writers’ Circle (not me), and all the stories, poems and essays are pieces that were begun during a session.

A terrible picture, but a sharp-looking book, no?

I practiced my piece about 5 or 6 times last week, clocking in at a pretty consistent 6 minutes. Yesterday, when I read in front of the group, I could feel my nerves taking hold of me, could feel me speeding up. It’s kind of like when you’re driving a car on the highway and you glance at the speedometer and find yourself doing 80–that’s miles per hour, not kilometers–and you’re not sure how you got there. I shouldn’t be nervous in front of those people, but I am, and I’ll be more nervous tonight, even if (and especially if) I know everyone in the audience. When I used to do the wildlife shows, I got more nervous when I was doing a program for my kids’ school than a school full of strangers. There’s all kinds of crazy psychology involved in that, I’m sure.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Depending on how I feel (and how much I drink after the reading is done, hah ha), I’ll have more tonight or tomorrow. Have a great day!

2 Responses

  1. How cool to see your book! Yay.

    I totally get the nerves thing. Our church choir did Carol of the Bells once and the poor director was so nervous she kept conducting it faster and faster. The poor pianist could barely keep up.

  2. Have fun! I actually think most people are more nervous in front of their friends/family – at least I am! 🙂
    I bet the reading went great – try to enjoy the moment!

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