Last night I had the privilege of reading one of my short stories in a public forum, thanks to the TWS Reading Series organized and hosted by Fiona Scott and Marni Wedin.
Reading one's own work in front of a group can be nerve-wracking. Fortunately, it is also exhilarating.
First up was Claudia Cornwall, a BC book prize winner. She read from an upcoming book that will launch in the fall. The subject is Curt Lang, a Beat era artist from Vancouver.
Janie Chang read from the novel she is currently writing about a ghostly woman stuck between worlds in 1930s China. Merylee Smith stepped out with her first public poetry reading, and Elen Ghulam read a story about a woman whose main claim to fame is stubbornness.
Kendall Anne Dixon read about healing emotional wounds and Sylvia Taylor about the sea. These authors were a talented lot, whose non-writing skills included storytelling, painting, Shiatsu therapy and flamenco dance.
The evening closed with poet Susan McCaslin, who read from her eleventh book of poetry, Demeter Goes Skydiving (University of Alberta Press, 2011). Afterwards, Susan answered questions. When asked about the writing and publishing life, she reminded us to be persistent, a message that writers need to hear frequently.
After all, writing is, as Nancy Lee says, "a career of attrition." The ones who get published are those determined souls who never quit writing and revising.