The connection between author and readers can be powerful and transformative. I’ve presented my biography of the early woman physician and political radical Marie Equi for dozens of gatherings. Each time I feel that I’m performing with the words, phrases and rhythms that survived a steady stream of revisions.
I get an extra charge from knowing I’m presenting the life of a remarkable but little-known woman. Audiences often allow me privileged access to their own inner lives – their appreciation for my protagonist or their disinterest, their sharing a laugh with the person next to them or their close following of the obstacles my character encountered. Sometimes I witness eyes widening, smiles broadening, and heads nodding with affirmation.
Often the Q and A is the best part of an author event. This is a time when the connection between author and reader becomes more immediate, spontaneous, and personal. I can embellish my story-telling, and I gain insight into what intrigued listeners. I often wait for a question never before asked. At my most recent reading, an older woman inquired how I felt as a man writing the biography of a woman and why I was drawn to do so. In my response, I disclosed more about myself, how I identified with Marie Equi’s outsider status and her overcoming many obstacles. My connection with listeners and readers became more intimate and powerful.
I look forward to more book readings with their draw of theater and performance and the chance to connect.