The Reading

Arriving at the Venue
The Promise of an Audience

A couple of weeks ago, I was scheduled to give a reading at Bookery, Manchester, a new independent bookstore in downtown Manchester, New Hampshire. I’d never been there before, and as a debut author, I was naturally worried that no one would show up.

I arrived at the venue in plenty of time and had an enjoyable conversation with the magenta-haired marketing assistant.

Chatting up the Magenta-Haired Marketing Assistant

As the minutes ticked by and the chairs remained empty, I was already composing the ironically sanguine gotta-pay-my-author’s-dues blog post, when my nephew Andrew and his girlfriend Shannon arrived. We had a lovely family catch-up while the rest of the chairs stayed empty. I finally asked them in an ironically self-deprecating way if I should just read to my family. Of course, they said yes.

So I told them about the inspiration for Telling Sonny, a little awkwardly at first, but when I began to read, something magical happened. I could feel myself reconnecting with the book and sharing that connection with Andrew and Shannon, a connection of writing and family that is at the heart of who I am.

You see, it started like this.
A Life Summed Up in Two Facts: Elliott I. committed suicide and had a sister Dorothy.
“It had been a car accident, an inexorable hurtling of metal and glass against tree, Louis dead on impact.”

When the reading was over, we didn’t want the evening to end. We found a place close-by to eat Italian food and get loud in a public place, in the best Andrew tradition. (As a two-year-old, he had once gotten so loud in a restaurant in North Carolina, the family was summarily ejected.)

I couldn’t have asked for a better reading if attendance had been standing room only.

Andrew & Shannon

145 thoughts on “The Reading

  1. I’m so glad your nephew and his girlfriend showed up to support you, Liz! This reminds me of many stories of musicians and bands that played their music to only a couple of fans in clubs in their early days. Just give it more time (and probably more advertisements) and next time there will be a bigger audience. Even though bigger doesn’t always have to mean better. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Liz, your honest recounting of the bookstore reading is sure to be the precursor of more such occasions–with full seats! “Humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 18:12). (Also, that evening at the Bookery was a good practice run before those standing-room only events!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing this story. Sounds like you had a beautiful evening. I had a similar experience recently, where I made the acquaintance of one of those couples I could have talked to for days. My event was in a HUGE book store (Like the biggest Barnes and Noble I’ve ever seen, plus a “used book” section bigger than our library.) There were literally millions of titles, representing hundreds of thousands of authors, and it gave me a different perspective.. I felt lucky I sold any books at all. But if my books (or yours) change one life, it’s worth it. What maters isn’t number of readers, it’s obeying God’s leading and trusting He knows what He’s doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. You are so right that if a book, poem, or story I (or) you have written touches even one life in a meaningful way, it’s a success and worth all of the hard work that went into it.

      Liked by 1 person

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