Reading Your Work Aloud

Part of our graduation requirements is to read a short piece from our thesis aloud to an audience of our classmates and MFA cohorts — some 100-plus people, all told. To which I say: eeeps!

I’ve been writing forever and I’m pretty comfortable with people one-on-one, given the fact that I’ve been interviewing people for more than a decade now. But I’ve never liked public speaking. Back in my senior year of high school, I took a class on the subject, which helped me shake the absolute horror of the idea off a bit. Still, I’ve never enjoyed it — and luckily, haven’t had to do it much thus far.

But there’s no getting around Thursday. And somehow, reading your own work, something close to you that you’ve put a lot of heart and soul and energy into, makes it that much harder. So tomorrow night, we’ve got a practice session. It’ll be the twelve us from class, with our final seminar instructor Sarah Weeks, who runs a kidlit-theater program, too. So hopefully that will help me get geared up for the big show. I have to admit, I’m still nervous. I’ll be practicing reading to Kavya and Navdeep all this week to prepare — but first I have to pick a four page section of the work to read. Geez, there’s another dilemma.

Any tips for when you have to read in public?

Wish me luck!

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