Sunday, April 7, 2024

Quote of the Day (Mark Greif, on Authors Reading Their Work to the Public)

“A [literary] reading is like a bedside visit. The audience extends a giant moist hand and strokes the poor reader’s hair. Up at the podium is someone who means to believe in his or her work, and instead he’s betrayed by his twitchy body and nervous laughter. The writer looks like his mother dresses him, he has razor burn on his neck, his hands may be shaking, his voice is creaky. Or she—she was always afraid of public speaking, this is why she became a writer!”— Educator, cultural critic, editor—and author—Mark Greif, “Literary Readings: Cancel Them,” n+1, Issue #2 (Winter 2005), reprinted in Utne Reader, July-August 2005

In several weeks, I will be experiencing this phenomenon, Faithful Reader.

Will I be one of the self-confident authors (e.g., Stephen King, William Peter Blatty) described here, a sonorous speaker like Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (looking uncharacteristically nervous in the accompanying photo), the poor creature of Mr. Greif’s prediction, or something entirely different?

Only time will tell!

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