Friday, March 23, 2012

My First Reading

"TUESDAY" production sign"TUESDAY" production sign (Photo credit: Vaguely Artistic)A few months ago, my friend Andi invited me to drive up to Goin' Coastal in Canton for $20 lobster night and have dinner with her and three of her friends. Andi is a neuropsychologist and my consultant on head injuries and neurological disorders not only in my day job, but also for the novel and an unrelated short story I'm working on. Andi is the only woman I know who can discourse on decorticate Confederate soldiers and lobsters (something to do with humanely killing the latter without destroying the taste, right before they go into the pot) almost in the same breath.

Perhaps taking her consultant role a bit too seriously, she told everybody I'm writing a book (she's almost worse than Mr. Wood in that regard) and so of course the ladies all wanted to know all about it. Seems they've tried their hands at writing, too. I am practicing taking myself seriously as a writer, and so I was able to say a bit about it in an organized fashion and to make clear that it is little more than an idea at present without disrespecting it or myself. One of the women offered to be a beta reader, when it gets to that stage. I was thrilled. People have said they can't wait to read it, or would buy it when it's out, but I get few serious offers to read it. This was clearly a serious offer. So. Now I won't have to beg for readers. The lobsters arrived (presumably decorticated--none of us wanted to believe they'd been boiled alive), the conversation moved on to other things, and that was that.

Or so I thought.

This afternoon I got an e-mail from Andi saying they all wanted to do the dinner thing again, same place, same menu. And that her friend the beta reader suggested that we all bring some of our writing. I immediately began thinking of excuses to be on the west coast come Tuesday night (which would take some doing as I could, hypothetically speaking, barely manage bus fare to Atlanta). I rationalized my visceral reaction by reminding myself that better writers than me have advised against letting friends and family or writing groups see your work "too soon". Of course, I have no idea exactly when "too soon" is, or is not, but it was convenient to interpret it for my purposes as easily encompassing Tuesday.

But then I got to thinking about it. Maybe it's not such a bad idea. Maybe a scene or two, a snippet of dialogue, is ready for prime time. Hell, this could even be fun!
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