Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I read at a local bookstore/cafe last night. It's strange reading aloud when you don't often get the chance to. Your words detach from your mouth and circle the room, quick to become separate entities. Suddenly, they seem like strangers. Your own voice sounds strained in your ears, wavering, like you've been crying. It is difficult to look at the people in the room. It is as if you are afraid to see how your writing has impacted them. Or if it has at all.

I often think of books, especially those of poetry and fiction, as private matters. Readings remind me that they are public matters. Shared matters. A reading can sometimes remind me of church--people, like so many congregants, suspended for a moment in the power of speech and insight, or just captivated by another's vulnerability. They can seem like the perfection of human contact--when the truth about one thing or person is channeled through a story and dropped, like a gift, at the foot of another.

Readings remind me to write as beautifully as I can. Writing reminds me to speak as truthfully as might be possible. And that is enough for today.


Meg said...

Oh Jen...you leave me 'speech-less.' I enjoy reading whatever you write, no matter how long, how short, how scattered, or thought-through. Keep seeking truthfulness is what you write, and yes, find beautiful ways of expressing it because words are meant to be shared.

thatgirl said...

good to hear you are sharing your craft in this way. what did you read to them? it sounds exciting.