Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Daddy is Proud of Me

Sunday, June 17 2012, Father’s Day
Undiscovered Voices Fellowship – Open Mic Reading

by Gimbiya Kettering

Most days, I do not wonder if I am a good writer.

It isn’t that I am one of those supremely confident, creative types. To the contrary, in my best moments I believe that someday I will be a good writer. Meanwhile, I’m a chronic rewriter and obsessive editor. I believe every piece is almost good-enough and with a little more work, it will be ready.

When I was awarded the Undiscovered Voices Fellowship last year, it felt like a sign that I was, in fact, a good writer. Maybe even a very good writer. It was a sign that I forgot in the humbling experience that is workshop. In classes with Writer’s Center instructors like Susan Land, Patrick Ross, and Amin Ahmad, I learned different techniques and tips that would make my writing better. And since any formal publication feels far-far away, I continue to believe that I would have endless time to make my next draft better.

Then, suddenly it was Father’s Day – the day of the finale reading. And nothing I wrote was good enough to be read in public! I spent the week before rereading my novel-in-progress for an excerpt, practicing reading aloud, and worrying. And worrying more.

By the time I got up to the microphone, I was a so nervous that my mouth was dry and the words blurred. Then I looked into the audience and in the front row was my family, smiling at me encouragingly. I swallowed and started to read, Africa. The whole expanse of it is condensed to a heavy, small stone.

Afterwards, my father – my biggest fan – said he was so proud of me. And he is. He has always been so proud of me. When I doubt my talent, Dad continues to remind me that I am a good writer. I was glad that I could give him the gift of sharing my work: Happy Father’s Day!

I want to thank everyone who came and were so supportive in response to my reading. As the featured writer, I shared the stage with other local writers, including (click on names to visit their websites): Vivian Feggans, Paul Hopper, David Martin, Louise Farmer Smith, Marija Stajic, and Enrique Tapias.

Have you ever read your work in public? What about reading aloud makes you nervous? How do you overcome the stage-fright? Write about it in the comment section below.

Public readings are a wonderful way to build your confidence and a chance for your fans to support your on-going creative process. We invite you to read at the next Open Mic at the Writer’s Center on Sunday, July 29 at 2:00 pm.

Top Tips to Prepare for a Reading

Edit the excerpt: It is okay to make changes that will make   any piece easier to read aloud.
Print in large font: 12 point is tiny when you're at the podium. I use 16!
* Practice Reading Aloud: So you can time yourself, practice any tricky words, and gain confidence.

Gimbiya Kettering, 2011-2012 Undiscovered Voices Fellow, with her biggest fan -- her father Merlyn Kettering. Application deadline for 2012-2013 Fellowship is30 June 2012.  Click Here to Apply.


Marija Stajic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marija Stajic said...

If Gimbiya was nervous reading "Africa" it didn't show. I was REALLY nervous, and I will never understand why. I've been on stages at least a 1000 times before, I have practiced and had faith in my story but still, nervous.
I actually wrote a blog about the event:
In a nutshell, I thought it was a success! And I was very flattered and glad to be a part of it. I have actually postponed my trip to Philly to this weekend, in order to read at the Center on Father's day. And it will be 99 degrees in Philly this weekend. All worth it.
p.s. Gimbiya, keep up the good writing!

Anonymous said...

Gimbiya, it sounds like you've had a truly empowering and inspiring experience with your Writer's Center experience. You deserve all the good things that have come your way as a result of this, including your father's pride. And I'm so glad you found value in my Writer's Center course.


The Writer's Center said...

Hi Gimbiya,
This might come as a surprise, but I've seen a lot of readnigs, and you didn't show any nervousness at all. It was a very good reading. Thanks!


Abitravelblogger said...

Hi Gimbiya,

Congratulations on your public reading. It sounds like your story was well received by your father (nice pic!) as well as the other attendees. I'm sorry to have missed it.

And, I'm sorry that you tempted me so with the opening sentence of your story, "Africa. The whole expanse of it is condensed to a heavy, small stone." How could you leave us readers hanging like that? I want to hear/read more!

All the best,

Abi (www.abitravelblog.wordpress.com)