OCD hearts ADD
Recently I had the wonderful (and nerve-racking) experience of giving my first real-live author reading. It was part of a lesbian literary conference I was attending, which happened to be held at a hotel in Disney World. Believe me, there is no wait for a roller coaster as scary as the wait for your turn to take your place at the podium and start speaking. It wasn’t the reading portion of the reading that was so terrifying. It was the 30 seconds of introductory patter that was petrifying. What if I got so nervous I forgot what I was supposed to say?
During all of the readings that came before me, I may have looked like I was listening intently, but I was really staring at a spot behind the reader’s heads, mentally repeating the phrases, “My name is Aine Ni Cheallaigh…my book is called Getting the Mercury Out…mercury is a potent neurotoxin…this scene takes place right after we move house…”
My girlfriend had encouraged me to read the “Fish Soup” scene because it had a lot of lesbian drama and conflict. I thought it was a good choice too, because it fit perfectly into the 5-minute time slot each reader had been assigned.
Since this was my first reading, and most of the feedback I’ve gotten on my book so far has been from mercury toxic people, I didn’t know if my audience would be lost when I started talking about my mercury symptoms. But I plowed ahead, and introduced the basic idea.
Mercury had temporarily given me OCD. And the thing I liked to obsess about the most was the fact that my girlfriend had a mild case of ADD, which I was determined to fix.
As I read this, there were groans of recognition around the room. I guess we weren’t the only OCD–ADD couple present at the con.
It was a really nice reading. The audience laughed at all my funny lines. That didn’t surprise me. What caught me off guard was when they laughed at all the very painful moments too. I’ve heard that kind of laughter before in support-group-type meetings. The laughter that says, Oh my God, that excruciating moment you just described, I have lived it too a thousand times, you have no idea.
Since most of my interaction with my readers is online, it was really nice to experience the warm and immediate feedback of a live audience. It’s something I think I could get used to. Maybe some day you’ll hear that I’ve scheduled a reading at a bookstore near you. Watch this space…