On reading to an audience

My legs shook as I stood in front of the others in my 6th grade class to deliver a mandatory speech, every bit as hard as they shook the first time I stepped onto the high diving board at a swimming pool in West Des Moines.

At Beaverdale Books in Des Moines, Iowa

The sheer terror of being in front of an audience somehow evolved – slowly, so slowly – into nervous excitement at the prospect of talking about something I love to do. The debilitating fear of heights is now a healthy respect for the law of gravity that keeps me a safe distance from sheer mountain cliffs and other high places.

Lately I’ve found myself actually going out of my way to get in front of people as an author, to do some readings and even sell and sign a few books. Three more events scheduled! Details sometime soon.

I’m surprised at how much fun it can be.

How about you? Are you comfortable in front of an audience or not so much?

Listen up, white guy

You would think that a guy like me, having been a white guy for, let’s say, 40+* years, would know a lot about being a white guy. You would probably be right.

Still, it is good to learn more. One huge new thing that I have learned in the past several years has been reinforced many times over through reading the work of writers who are nothing like me and have strong feelings about white guys. This example caught my attention just this morning.

The thing: Sometimes it’s best to shut up and listen.

If you care, you can learn why people feel the way they do about white guys.

*True, yet imprecise. So what?

Free books worth every penny

Fairness compels me to say there may be an exception every 12th blue moon or so, but in the cluttered world of ebooks it is almost always true that you get what you pay for.

Barnes & Noble nook (ebook reader device)
Barnes & Noble nook (ebook reader device) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve sampled a few free “books” out of curiosity. So far they’ve cost me nothing but time, obviously, but the benefits of getting a free work of fiction stop there.

Findings

A few hundred words do not a novel make.

Free or not, poor writing and editing do not increase a reader’s interest in suffering through more by the same author.

The time you spend reading crap is gone forever.

Don’t bother asking for a refund.