A few months ago I signed up to participate in a storytelling event. Back in December I got confirmation that I was in the lineup for January. In an attempt to help the participants feel comfortable and prepared, the organizer of this event holds a meeting for each new group of storytellers a few weeks before the night of their reading. So last Thursday I found myself braving the cold to workshop my piece at an old diner.
My heart was racing as I entered the restaurant and found the group. As usual my anxiety surrounding meeting new people was in full effect. Thankfully everyone in the group seemed lovely, and a little anxious as well. After ordering some food and taking a deep breath, we dove into sharing our pieces. I was a ball of nerves by the time I volunteered to read.
I was surprised when I saw that my fellow storytellers were actually engaged in my reading. My hands shook throughout, but I felt pretty good as I wrapped up my piece and looked up to see their reactions. I knew there were places where my point was lost or where my words got a little muddled, but overall I felt confident that the work I had done was not a complete and utter fail.
The feedback session began and I was happily taken aback by my ability to hear what they all had to say and not get down on myself; I guess I finally put on my big girl panties because I found myself wanting to hear what they had to say instead of cringing behind my cup of coffee. There were some really positive, encouraging comments, like my ability with humor and characterizations, as well as some ways that I could potentially improve the piece, including some questionable grammar (of course; after a long stint of fights and squabbles, grammar and I are finally reexamining our relationship) and ways I can cut overly explanatory areas.
I could not believe how much of a relief it was to finally have read this piece to other people. I have a lot of work to do on it prior to next week’s reading, but I now feel that I have a solid beginning and somewhere to go with the piece. Check back in next week for details on the event. And wish me luck!