On Tuesday I attended the reading of my story Still Life with Shirt and Sheep at Liars’ League. This picture shows Sharron Byrne reading my story and impressing the hell out of me.
There’s a certain pleasure to NOT having to read your own work aloud – not only do you get a fresh interpretation of your words, but you get to look at the audience and gauge reactions in a way that you never can when you’re giving the reading yourself. Well, maybe you can, I can’t – all I can see is the page. Also, you’re not worrying about when it will be your turn to get up and try and be entertaining, so you can relax more and absorb more of the nuances of what’s happening, so if you are a short story writer I really recommend trying to find something (or write something) that fits the League’s needs and themes – it’s a rewarding experience and a lot of fun. As an example, my rather mordant story contained two laughs, and Sharron managed to get the audience to laugh the first time, and then feel rather embarrassed because, after all, this was a story about suicide (exactly the response I’d been seeking, but I’m not sure I could have managed) and then she got them to laugh again and feel embarrassed about it! It taught me something about the pacing of writing for performance rather than writing for private reading, which will be a valuable tool for the future.
Liars’ League is a London-based writers’ and actors’ group that holds a short story reading night at 7pm on the second Tuesday of each month at Upstairs at The Lamb, 94 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London WC1N 3LZ. The next reading on the theme of “CIGARETTES & ALCOHOL” will be on June 26 at 7pm and at present they are accepting submissions for the July 10 event “Sex & Death”. If you’re interested, submit to email@example.com by Friday June 22. All the good gen is at http://www.myspace.com/liarsleague.