Here's what I’ve read from so far:
- ‘Manawatu’ - reading as part of guest speaker to Whitireia Creative Writing Student, July 2010
- ‘Copies’ - reading to Adult Continuing Education night school class, March 2010
- ‘Untitled (Crimson and Gold)’ - NZSA Wellington Branch, Feb 2011
- 'A Man Melting' - reading to Adult Continuing Education night school class, Oct 2010
- ‘Oribital Resonance’ (part 2) - NZSA Wellington Branch, Feb 2011
- ‘Facing Galapagos’ - Book launch and Radio NZ interview, July 2010 (they were the same day; Lynn Freeman asked what passage I'd be reading at the launch and then asked me to record it for broadcast later… I didn't have my wits about me to suggest another story… ah, lost opportunities!)
- The Sceptic's Kid - Te Papa Writers on Mondays, September 2010
So that's 7/18 or a slightly over a third of the way there in 10 months. Thank goodness for the Commonwealth Writers Prize, as I'll have tons of reading opportunities in Sydney next month.
Question: What can female residents of a Juvenile Justice Centre relate to? Answer: Please don't let it be one of the seven stories I've already read from!
I've already had to let the CWP people know what passage I'll be reading from at the event on 21 May when the winners are announced. I've gone with the opening of 'Parisian Blue', so that's one more to check off the list.
It always surprises me how long it takes to choose a reading, even when it is to be 1-2 minutes long. In fact, the shorter the reading the harder it is. The endings of my stories tend to be compacted into a readable 1.5 minute chunk, but much of their power relies on the repetition of early elements in the story and when divorced from that context, they seem (to me at least) a little weak. Also, there's the fact you're acting as your own spoiler in the case of stories with twists (though that didn’t stop me reading the end of ‘The Sceptic’s Kid’; perhaps that’s more of an dummy-twist-and-go?).
With short readings I prefer to be funny over deep (though both humour and profundity tends to be the product of several pages build up). With longer readings I try to pick something that doesn't have a sentence that makes me cringe and that may link to something I can talk about as a kind of spur for questions and answers.
I also shy away from dialogue that will force me to put on voices (though I have broken this rule already). Thankfully, most scenes in my short stories tend to boil down to double-handers and I can resort to the 'turn this way for him', 'turn that way for her' form of delivery.
With Auckland, Sydney and Melbourne festivals this year, I should get down to two or three stories left to be read. At that point I may just stand on a street corner and yell at people: "It began with a puddle…"