So this time, I made sure that my LJfriends and Facebook friends knew that it was really, really important to me to not be speaking to an empty room. And I read things aloud, testing skill and tone and impact. Decided against "The Angel of Fremont Street" and "Valentines" because they just scan better on the page, and "Angel" is a bit of a downer... so I chose a scattering of flash fiction pieces, with special attention to tone - sprinkling quick funny shots amidst the more typical meditative pieces. I baked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I gathered up flyers for Ravens in the Library and for my party, my chapbooks, et cetera. I wore my Lost Girls Pirate Academy shirt for luck, and a story around my neck. And I took a deep breath and went up to the tenth floor ten minutes early to set up.
I emerged from the elevator to see swashbucklr and a few other people loitering outside the room, and I had a moment of concern - was there someone else in the room? It was supposed to be empty for the half-hour before my reading! I walked in...
...to find that the room was already half-full. That about a dozen people had come up to the room up to half an hour before the reading to make sure they didn't miss a word. (The elevators have been problematic and unreliable.)
So, y'know, holy crap. Ten minutes before the reading, eight floors away from the main traffic flow of the con, and more people than ever before. Here I am, writerchick, and all I can say is "...OMG hi."
As I got set up, I got more people. And more. And more. Every chair was taken. People sprawled in the aisles, sat on the floor, leaned on walls and in the doorway, appropriated chairs from elsewhere. And not just my friends. Authors I like and respect who I'd met earlier in the con. Colleagues from the Interstitial Arts Foundation. Total strangers.
Have you seen Big Fish? The end, where he's returning to the river, and everybody - I mean everybody - is there.
It felt like that.
I read about cats chasing aliens, feral information, the secrets of crackling ice, an ushabti's dreams, a gentle slow Singularity, dragon protocol, the pitfalls of time travel. I got applause after applause, and laughter at all the right places. I was too blown away to count attendees, but was told afterward that there were about 40-50 people. And was told that I had them in the palm of my hand.
As I told s00j: "It felt like one of your house concerts. But I got to be you!"
It. Was. Perfect.
My best reading yet, and lots of fun, and... it just made my con. I feel like such a rock star.
So if you attended my reading: thank you so, so much. And please give me feedback in comments!
If you didn't? Dude, you missed out. :)
(...I still can hardly believe that that happened. That crowd! Wow! I love you guys!)