What if They Gave a Reading and Nobody Came?

I’m currently giving my Shakespeare final, having brought cinnamon rolls for the kids as an attempt to make up for the fact that it’s an 8 a.m. exam. In the back of my van, I have a box of copies of Broken Glass Waltzes and back issues of Dark Corners, because this afternoon from 1-3 and then from 5-7, I’ll be doing readings/signings at Books on Main, Mondoville’s independent bookstore. The real guest of honor is the newly released Dark City Lights, but the bookstore already ordered those, so one less box for me to carry.

And I’ve been nervous since yesterday, images of the unpopular kid’s birthday party, attended by no one, flashing across my mind. As I wrote in a Facebook comment last night:

I’m already imagining sitting at a small table, surrounded by copies of DCL, DC, and BGW. Alone, so alone. A man approaches, only to dash my hopes by asking for a key to the washroom — or for James Patterson novels. The proprietor will snicker at my delusions of writerly value, even as those delusions are shattered before my eyes. It will be even more humiliating than when [redacted] refused to kiss me during a game of Spin-the-Bottle in 8th grade.

See, I’ve got the spirit already!

At least when I’m playing a set to an empty bar, I can focus on the songs and distract myself from the world’s unconcern. That won’t be an option today.

And in turn, I find myself thinking of the fact that the Spawn and some of my friends and colleagues have told me they plan to attend, but then I speculate — indeed, I find myself certain — that this is done out of pity, like the children forced by their well meaning parents to attend that unpopular kid’s party. I want to tell them, “It’s okay! You don’t have to come — I know you have better, far more interesting things to do, and it’s a beautiful day. Go do those things instead!”

I want to tell them that — but that would be lying. I’m exactly so desperate as to need the validation of attendance, and I’ll more than happily lie to myself that there’s no sense of social obligation at work, that they’re here because they like my work, and that they like meeeeeeee! But there’s a part of me that will know better, and denounce me.

I’ll report more on this later.

Meanwhile, yesterday marked my fifth bloggiversary. I guess I still have things to say, so I’ll keep saying at least some of them here. Thanks for listening.


About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
This entry was posted in Broken Glass Waltzes, Culture, Education, Family, Literature, Pixel-stained Wretchery, Why I Do What I Do. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to What if They Gave a Reading and Nobody Came?

  1. If I were nearer, I would come and visit you at the bookstore. I’d also wrangle others nearby to do the same.

  2. Jeff S. says:

    Your fears are understandable—in Massachusetts a few years ago, they had to clear a children’s birthday party out of their events room so I could give my book-talk to two friends and a couple of bored strangers who’d wandered in by accident but were too polite to leave. Some of these events are much better than others. I’m hoping this one is lively and well-attended!

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