It feels like the other day, even though it happened back in the middle of January. A cool, rainy, San Diego evening found me attending a Launch Party for the group, “San Diego Writing Women“.
I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled upon this event, but it interested me for at least two reasons:
- I like to write.
- I am a woman.
Also, all nine women in the group are published authors and they would be reading from their latest books. I had never been to a reading before, and this event promised nine of them, so I thought that might be interesting as well.
The venue was a little strange, I thought—a hair salon called Hair Drezzers on Fire. They had pushed all the hair-cutting chairs off to the side to make room for the crowds of people, and they had added a few tables to display the authors’ books and to hold the food and drinks. It worked, I suppose; some people sat in the hair chairs, and other people sat on folding chairs brought in for this party. Most people stood. There were crowds of people—mostly women, go figure—in the salon, lining up at the various author tables to chat, buy books, and get their books signed. Other people were crowding the hors d’oeuvres tables, grabbing wine and punch, and talking excitedly to one another. A few were listening to the live music, (guitar and drums) waiting impatiently for the readings to start. (You can include me in the last group.)
I attended by myself, as I don’t personally know a single other person in San Diego who I thought would have enjoyed going with me. (I didn’t even know if I would enjoy it myself!) So I showed up, got some snacks, and wandered around, looking at the books, the people, and the authors. Oddly, I wasn’t in a social mood, so I barely spoke to anyone. I especially didn’t speak to the authors. I never know what to say to the center(s) of attention at any given event, whether it be musicians, authors, actors, etc. Often, I don’t know who they are beforehand, and although I enjoy what they have to offer, I rarely buy their product(s). So what would I do? Go up, shake their hand, say, “Thanks, I enjoyed it,” and walk on? Does it pay to stand in a long line, just to say that? Do they even care? Even if some small talk ensued, I usually imagine that it would be so fake on both sides that I really don’t see the point. On the other hand, I know that performers of any sort always like to hear that they are appreciated. And something productive or interesting might come out of the conversation. But I have never figured out how to talk to performers without feeling completely awkward. Any advice would be appreciated.
One more note on that: It appeared to me that most people at the event already knew each other. So I felt a little out of place, like a stranger wandering around at an open wedding reception where I didn’t even know the bride’s and groom’s names, just eating their food and waiting for them to toss the bouquet; but feeling like I should go up to them and tell them what a wonderful wedding it was.
Anyhow, I decided I wasn’t going to make an effort to be social. I sat on a chair facing the band and listened to their music and nibbled my cheese and crackers until the readings started. The waiting was worth it. The nine women had completely different genres of books, including murder mysteries, historical fiction, animal life, and hiking day trips. They all had unique reading styles and only five minutes to spread their message, so the readings were fast with a lot of variety, keeping it interesting and entertaining.
When I left, it was sprinkling. Waiting for the bus in the rain, I reflected on the evening. I was glad I went. I enjoyed the readings very much. I was re-inspired to write, and do something with my writing. Publish a book! That has been one of my dreams since I was young. Maybe something based on my upcoming Peace Corps adventure…
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