I was back at Bodega Monthly and the weather had been unbearably hot, so I decided to read my story “Correfoc” which takes place in Barcelona during the festival of La Merce. Correfoc is a parade of fireworks, a way of celebrating native to Catalunya.
Here’s an exerpt from my story “She had watched the way the devils went to the fireworks cart that was being pushed along and replenished their supply. There was a person standing next to the cart lighting the fireworks for the devils. Once the fireworks began to spark and spin around on the stick, the devils ran off to join festival participants in the street. Those who decided to take part, instead of watching as if it were just a regular parade, would rush towards the devil and dance around them, sinking lower to the ground with them and the drumbeat until the fireworks ran out.”
If you’re ever in Barcelona in September during La Merce, I recommend going to see the correfoc. It’s equal parts scary and exciting and you won’t regret taking part.
I was marginally less nervous when my time to read came. I had done a final edit on my story a few days before and was satisfied with it. Though as I started reading my story in front of the audience, I began to realize that I was mentally editing on the spot. When I felt in the swing of things, my mind was substituting words that were in fact easier to read. I’m wondering if this is a phenomenon that happens when you read your work outloud and that’s why it’s suggested to do that when you’re editing your work.
I’ve also come to realize that live reading has really affected how I write. I am now trying to write things that are fun to read outloud. Even when picking a story for these readings, I tend to pick ones that I feel are entertaining to be read outloud, versus a story that feels more private and like something that should be discovered on your own.
This time no one interrupted my reading by being loud, but I still got interrupted. While reading and standing in front of the huge window at the front of the bar, I could feel something was happening behind me outside. I could sense a momentarily lapse in the room’s concentration. As people who were sitting outside came rushing in, I figured that it had started to rain.
When I stepped down off the stage, I saw that outside a huge storm was raging; torrential rain, wind, thunder and lightning. The organizer of the event, Rob, later told me that as soon as I said the word “devils” the heavens opened up. As interruptions go, that’s a pretty cool one and perfect timing at that.
I went for my post-reading celebratory pint (aka the free drink I get for reading) and a guy sitting at the bar, who was there supporting his two reader friends, complemented me on my reading. He then offered me half his sandwich. Who says writing doesn’t put food and drink on the table?
Later on my friend, Faye, told me that when I was introduced and went up to the stage she heard someone say something like “I remember her from last time”. Apparently, it was said in a positive tone (I asked). It felt kind of good to be recognized and remembered.
The rest of the night unfolded with the usual diverse display of talent and topics. However, one reader had a particularly unfortunate monotone voice and I admit to a momentary lapse in concentration and childish behaviour when my friend Monica and Faye, went outside for a cigarette, and I made faces at them through the window.
The night ended a little early which I was actually grateful for since I’d just survived an intense week of late night gigs and events and was looking for an early excuse back to my bed.
Before Monica left to go home she asked me if this was going to become a regular thing. I shrugged but seeing as I’m going back there to read on September 2, I guess I have become a regular.