I stepped on the stage with a little wobble. My stomach was churning. The audience of over 200 people sat there waiting for me to start my reading. The words start, but I can feel the mechanicalness of the words as they come out of my mouth … “I wrote this story …”
After the first paragraph of the story, I finally start to feel more comfortable on stage. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to practice in the car on the way up. The others in the car laughed at various points during the reading. This let me know when I needed to pause – to allow the laugher. My intonations and emotions start to come out as I get more comfortable reading on stage. And then it is over. The story is quite short. It is one that I’m rather proud of. I’m thankful to the editors of the anthology for making the story better.
I am reminded of something said in The ethnographic I: A methodological novel about authoethnography (Ellis, 2007). In it she comments about how her husband, Art Bochner, says that once the stories are published they become your story, regardless of whether the details are exactly right.
The book launch was a huge success (Agony and Absurdity: Adventures in Cancerland: An Anthology). All the stories read that night were amazing. Through the humor in the stories there is a depth of reality – one that isn’t so funny. All proceeds for the book go to support Bay Area Young Survivors – a support group for women diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 45.
I share with you the reading of my chapter, graciously recorded by my husband.