Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Nervous as a virgin at an orgy...

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Okay, this is it. Tonight I'll be joining Myna Wallin and Heather J. Wood to do a reading at The Painted Lady, presented by our publisher, Tightrope Books. Man, am I nervous, rehearsing like a madman all day, terrified of hearing that one stifled yawn. I have nightmares about it. Then the polite applause and a few sighs of relief and you can practically hear members of the audience thinking: 'Thank god it's over...'

I've noticed a reading tendency among some writers is to get into an unnatural spoken rhthym, a weird cadence you only hear when someone reads poetry or dialogue-free prose. A kind of Up and Down pattern like: The DOG went OUT for CIGARETTES and WHEN he RETURNED he FOUND he HAD no MATCHES... It's not a rhythm you'd dance to or sway to or get intimate to. I'm sure most readers who do it don't even realize what's happening. It just feels comfortable because when you're drowning anything worth hanging onto looks good.

I guess the goal, at least in my case, is to make it sound casual, natural, as if you're relating some amusing anecdote to a couple of friends over drinks, no big deal. Well, that's always been the secret to performing 3 chord rock'n'roll. Just make it seem easy, like you'd never bother rehearsing cuz you're just too damn cool. Confidence, I suppose. Well, the only way I know to get anywhere near something like that is to rehearse like crazy and stay in the scene. The rehearsing gives you a fallback position in case you lose your train of thought. And staying in the scene is critical, not letting your mind wander, not looking ahead - staying very deep in the scene, that place and time and those characters, nothing else, tasting it, smelling it.

I'm going to read 3 short passages and I'm worried that the first one is so personal in a way that I might just burst into tears and have a breakdown. The second passage is so ridiculous, so absurd, like a joke you start laughing about before you've gotten to the punch line. Great. I'll go from crying my eyes out to laughing hysterically. By the third passage, they'll be coming with the nets and straightjacket... Ah, well, I guess you can only do what you can do. Wish me luck. Better still, show up and stand me a few stiff drinks beforehand.

Hope to see you tonight. Remember, 7:30 at The Painted Lady, SW corner of Ossington Ave and Dundas St. West.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Basil Papademos

Basil Papademos is the author of MOUNT ROYAL: There's Nothing Harder Than Love, published in the spring of 2012 by Tightrope Books, also available as an ebook in all formats from all digital retailers. His earlier novel, The Hook of it is, was published by Emergency Press. His upcoming novel, How To **** Your Psychiatrist, will be published in the fall of 2013.

Go to Basil Papademos’s Author Page