Why do a public reading if you hate reading out loud?

Published October 30, 2012 by Sandee

I hate reading out loud.  I feel like I’m publicly luxuriating in my ability to enunciate fluent English, or showcasing the melodic quality of my voice.  Reading to a roomful of people makes me anxious.  I buy my 1 and 4 year old nephews books when I visit, which means I must read to them, but I don’t really like it.  It makes my mouth tired and I hate when I start to sound nasally.  Generally when reading out loud, I feel my persona or whatever vibe I may have at the moment intruding on the text.  Reading out loud also makes me feel like I’m showing off how well I can read out loud.

At my author reading on Saturday for my book Mean-Spirited Tales, the words rolled right off, of course, because I know these stories blind.  I think I did a fair job of being animated when necessary.  It felt like a performance.  A lot of people came and there was some interaction.  My one good friend was the ring-leader with her laughter and applause.  My sister came from Massachusetts — how blessed I am.  Fellow blogger Margarita from Serenity in the City came with her husband — what a pleasure it was to meet her!  “We actually exist,” I told her.  She’s a very attractive woman with a great vibe.  I talked to her for a while.

I was overwhelmed in a good way at all of the support that I got.  When I got up to read there was screaming and loud applause.  The laughter was fun.  I often laugh while writing some of my shit, hoping that others will laugh when they read it, but I was surprised even at some of the places where people laughed.  I stopped at one point to ask the audience, “That was funny? Okay,” and I laughed along with them.

People called the next day and said they had a good time.  Whew!  To me it was rather exhausting.  Ms. Waiting from The Waiting described doing readings as nerve-wracking — that’s exactly it.  I don’t know if I want to do another one.  If I do have another reading, maybe I’ll ask someone else to read.

And thanks so much to all of the bloggers who wished me well a couple of days ago.  I took all of the well-wishes with me.




58 comments on “Why do a public reading if you hate reading out loud?

  • Kudos! I know what you mean by showing off your reading out loud skills. I have a deep, Orson Wells (with a large hint of hickerbilly) voice. I got asked to be the narrator for the Christmas program last year, and I’m expecting to get asked again. I hate talking in front of people, but they laugh at me, so it’s not too bad. Sometimes they’re not even laughing at me. 🙂

    • Oooooh — Jon! Maybe I can fly you out here to read for me — I know I can’t really do this but I did seriously ask if one or two people felt like reading for me that night. It sounds like you have a really nice voice and that’s what I want — someone to read who has a great voice.

    • Yeah BB — this weather drama is probably not the last that we’ll have. I really appreciate the Governor acknowledging that the weather patterns have changed. It has my mind going in some pretty wild directions. Thank goodness I’m fine. The building did actually shake and the lights flickered but it’s okay.

      Thanks BB!

  • I don’t know why but reading how successful this was made me a little emotional. Seriously. I know it must have been nerve racking. I’m so impressed with what you’ve done here, Sandee. I love that you stopped to laugh with the audience. How great is that? I would have loved every minute of it.
    PS. I also know that out of body experience when you’re reading something to a group. All of a sudden you hate your voice. Haha!

    one more thing… You look amazing in those pictures. What the heck body mass are you talking about? 😉

    • It would have been so nice if you had been there with all the support! Thanks so much Grippy! I’ll take it and run…

      Part of me doesn’t like all that attention in this way — don’t mind my book getting attention though. I think that’s why the next day I felt so wrung out. The stories are personal and there I am putting them out there with everyone looking at me. I felt vulnerable.

      And yeah, my fibroids were sticking out even more because it just happened to be the time of the month — aaaack! So of course that sucked. It was the worst time for this to happen — when I had to be up there in front of all those people. Thanks for saying I look good though! I appreciate it.

      Thank you thank you!

  • “I feel like I’m publicly luxuriating in my ability to enunciate fluent English, or showcasing the melodic quality of my voice.” This was really, really funny to me. Was I supposed to laugh here? ;D I’m glad it went well and that you got to meet a fellow blogger.

    • I did think that was funny too! I really appreciate that you ‘got it’ 🙂 I always say at least I know what I’m trying to transmit is being received.

      It was really fun meeting Margarita. It would have been nice if more bloggers could have been there — next time 😉

      Thanks Waiting!

  • I used to get up and read poetry at coffee shops when I was in my 20s (and still wrote poetry on a regular basis). As a natural wallflower, it was kind of weird. You look like you had an awesome reading. I’m totally psyched on your behalf.

  • Oh Sandee… “Reading out loud also makes me feel like I’m showing off how well I can read out loud.” What’s wrong with showing off? You obviously, and I’m sure, made a whole bunch of people laugh and have a great time on a Saturday night. How cool is that!
    “…publicly luxuriating in my ability to enunciate fluent English…” phew! I hope one day, I’ll get to that point 🙂

    • I just talked to my mother who suggested that I get people who enjoy that kind of attention to read for me. I’ll consider that. I felt too raw the next day.

      As always Anette I’m grateful for your kind words and support.


  • i have no idea why you wouldn’t enjoy ‘reading out loud’ when undoubtedly you do it so eloquently well. sigh, if only i could stand in the audience and show you my encouragement (and naturally shot the vent as well: personal gratification) peace

  • Hey Sandee. I am a little late too this party but wow, kudos to you. I think you are so very brave woman– for putting yourself out there, getting up in front of people and for well, just doing it all! We have author talks at the library. I love when they are engaging and funny– I bet just the way you were. It is fun to see the authors come alive right in front of my eyes.
    I am anxiously awaiting my copy of your book to arrive from Amazon. keep us posted on your next book talk. I am glad you shared this and your awesome pics with us. Rock on!

  • Congrats! You look in those photos like an impassioned and serious artist (that’s a good thing). It looks like you knocked ’em dead.

    I am one of those people who’s a little bit in love with his own voice. I’m sure you can imagine some of the disadvantages to that.

    • Thanks SSG! I was fortunate to have escaped some of the devastation. But of course around here there are downed trees, some people have no power. Forget about mail. I haven’t worked in three days because there’s no power. My building shook a little that night and the lights flickered but all in all we were okay.

  • Woo! I knew it would be all kinds of wonderful. Wish I could’ve been there.

    I also wish I could’ve told off Al Pacino. “Ya know, Al,” I would’ve said. “Your half-assed performance robbed me of some valuable Sword Chinned Bitch time!”

    • Thanks Mike! I wish you could’ve been there as well. I may have another one — but I don’t know — it was kind of traumatic for me, putting myself out there. I wonder what was up with Mr. Pacino. Maybe it wasn’t the vehicle for him?

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