My First Book Reading at the Artists Group
I’ve read aloud before. I’m in 12 step recovery so it’s often my turn to read a paragraph or two in front of people. No big deal, I’m not so caught up in myself that I freak out if I mispronounce a word or stumble a bit here and there. I thought reading from my book would be the same thing. And thankfully, the first time I did it was in an artists group that I knew was a loving and nonjudgmental event yet I unexpectedly cracked and became incredibly emotional.
First let me tell you about this artists group. Being a part of it was a really neat and special experience. My friend Mimi who is an amazing sculptor (check her out http://www.mimisammis.com/) has an artists gathering at her house and what happens is people take turns sharing their art. People play music, show their paintings or drawings, dance, read poetry… we all watch attentively to whomever’s turn it is with unconditional love. Some people ask questions about the process or inspiration. I was impressed at the genuine self expression that was there. Some folks were professional and others were not. It didn’t matter. I would have never thought about my book as art until Mimi invited me to attend the group and read from my book. I thought this would be good practice as I may be called upon in the future to read at a writer’s event if I’m lucky.
My book is a memoir about addiction and abuse and I wrote it in the hopes that it may help someone in some way. There is so much that I now understand that I didn’t understand when I was going through tough times. Perhaps someone might learn from my mistakes. I expressed this before I read at the artists group and then I got this huge lump in my throat and tears welled up in my eyes. I did not expect this and was embarrassed. The group responded kindly and gently coerced me to continue. I got through a portion of what I wanted to read and with tears, sat back down in my seat. One person gave me a Kleenex and another, a glass of water. They wanted to hear more and asked if I wanted someone else to read. Their honest interest in what I had to say gave me the strength to get back up and finish.
I guess writing stuff down that has happened to me and having people read it is one thing, but to speak about it out loud to folks is a whole different thing. I’ve had years and endless therapy to heal the wounds and I do believe I am healed but the reality of the deception and horrors are still appalling. Perhaps they should be. This was a very interesting experience and I am grateful to my friend Mimi for the opportunity to be vulnerable in such a safe place. Thank you Mimi. Thank you artists group.