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My Big Talk at the Schnitz for Everybody Reads
Everybody Reads 2012 came to an end last week culminating with my visit to a couple of high schools during the day thanks to Literary Arts Writers in the Schools program, and my big talk at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall at night. It could not have been a more amazing day!
I returned to my alma mater, Jefferson High School, in the morning where I spoke to some 50-plus students who had read The Girl . . . --The best part was that I was speaking to the current students of my former high school creative writing teacher, Linda Christensen, who taught the book to the students this term. The students' questions were great.
In the afternoon, I visited with 9th graders at Reynolds Alternative High School. They too were well-prepared with great questions. I particularly adored Taylor who presented me with a present from the class.
Then it was time to get ready for the big show. That meant a nap first. When I woke from my nap, the nerves set in. As I got dressed and put on make-up I started to worry: what if I stumble on stage? What if I get the hiccups? What if I run out of words? I had my speech ready, practiced and annotated, but what if they didn't laugh at my jokes? What if the audience didn't connect at all?
We did a quick run-thru at 6pm. Just one and half hours until show time, but that was forever as I continued to make myself more and more anxious. Fifteen minutes before the program started, I did a live interview backstage with KGW-TV. I was feeling delirious. Would I make any sense? I think I did mostly. But you can judge for yourself.
After a very gracious introduction, I took the stage. Wow! The concert hall looked packed! Breathe in and breathe out, I kept thinking. And then I started. And they laughed at my jokes. And started to relax a little. And then the whole talk was over before I knew it. But then the best part of the night: Pink Martini's Thomas Lauderdale, a childhood friend, literally leaped onto the stage and played the song that plays a major role in the book, but has no lyrics or title. It was so amazingly magical. I don't have words for it. And now, I'm back to real life--the Cinderella moment is over--but wow! I will certainly never forget it. The audio of the event will be played on OPB in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for the exact date and time!
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