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On Tour

April 24, 2008

What to Read?
Posted by Heather Burt

Figuring out what to read at a public event is always an interesting challenge. In the case of novels, you want the reading to be interesting/exciting, but you don’t want to give away too much ... something that’s self-contained but that will inspire the audience to track down the book and read more. Some scenes work just fine on the page but don’t translate very well to the spoken word. Scenes with dialogue require a certain amount of acting — a special challenge for solitary, writerly types! I had a couple of readings that I was happy with, but yesterday I was feeling itchy for a change (I have great admiration for theatre types who do long runs — night after night of the same role). Anyway, with David’s suggestion of a particular scene (he’s very kindly read my book) and Meg’s coaching in the area of making distinctions between different characters, I decided to try out a new reading — a tense scene with a lot of dialogue. I rehearsed at the back of a café in Creston, and last night’s event at the Creston Library offered the perfect audience — intimate, friendly, and very welcoming. I had a great time trying something new and am psyched to do the same scene again tonight in Cranbrook.

The event at Prince Charles Secondary in Creston ended with one of our best Q&A sessions so far (one student wanted to know if Rita had been influenced by Allen Ginsberg), and I’m indebted to Lynn the librarian for rescuing the new thermos I’d left behind at the school. Thanks, Lynn!

At Mount Baker Secondary this afternoon I got to try out another new presentation. The group was small enough for an interactive, creative writing type activity, and, considering it was last block of the day, with a Pro-D day tomorrow, the students were very kind to us (not to mention the very groovy librarian and English teacher who hosted us)!

Signing off from the Colonel Baker Lounge in Cranbrook, where we’ve got five duelling laptops set up (nothing anti-social intended ... we really dig each other ... we’re just incorrigible email/blog addicts) ....

Heather

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