Hello again, readers! I have a few things I want to talk about today.
First of all: I have two readings coming up, both on campus. The first is at the unveiling of The Quadrangle on April 15. One of the editors ran into me last night at the library and asked me if I would like to be one of the readers at the event, so I agreed. The second is the senior capstone reading, in which those of us who are graduating are required to read an excerpt from something we’ve been working on all semester.
I’ve done public readings before for Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honors club on campus. But I’ve always read the work of other authors at those events. For the Halloween readings I picked Poe or Barker, for the Valentine’s Day reading I picked Donne or Shakespeare. But this is the first time I’ll be reading my own work, so I’m a little bit of a nervous wreck. I think the biggest issue for me is the subject matter, particularly in the piece I’m reading from for my capstone event. I draw heavily from real-life events that my whole family, and even some of my friends, know about. However, the characters in the story are their own people, and there are aspects to their relationship (particularly the romantic relationship between the two female characters) that are entirely fictional. Yes, they both share some traits with a real-life friend of mine and myself, but they are also themselves. I’m terrified that my parents and aunts and uncles who attend will think that Amy — my narrator — is me, when she’s not. Yes, we share some ideas on feminism and, yes, we both have a friend who married too young, but we are not each other. The story tackles issues of sexuality and domestic violence and I really don’t want my parents or my aunts or uncles to think that I’m drawing from personal experience. In other words, I want them to see Amy as her own character, not as a reflection of me. I don’t want them to think that this story is a confessional.
Does anyone have advice for this? I know a lot of writers face this fear that their family won’t approve of their work, and I think it’s my biggest obstacle to overcome in the following weeks as I prepare for the events. How did you work through this? Has it caused any strain between you and your families (if you don’t mind my asking)? How do you handle family members or friends who can’t make the distinction between fiction and reality?
On a totally unrelated note, before I close this post, I just want to wish everyone participating in the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo good luck! I’ll be plugging along with you (towards a modest goal of 25000 words), and if anyone would like to do any writing sprints with me, let me know!