Monday, February 18, 2008

Readings and Why I Live at the P.O.

Readings. I have some readings coming up. One in Tremont this Saturday. I try not to think about that fact too much. I get so nervous sometimes.

Then I think about the good, the bad, and the so-so readings I’ve attended. But one thing’s for sure. I will never forget my first. I was a freshman at Bryn Mawr College (I was there only a year), and I went to a reading one evening by accident. I mean I hadn’t intended to go. I was on my way to the library when one of the English professors caught up to me. She said there was this event I shouldn’t miss. A reading by a very famous, very southern writer. I was southern, wasn’t I? By then she was guiding me by my arm. So we went together to this formal room, smallish and carpeted, with a few people milling around. I think there were twenty people or so, and most were older, clearly from the faculty. I remember this long-winded introduction. Then this bent woman stood up. I was amazed at how she looked just like a toad. She was soft-spoken at first. But then all of a sudden she took off. She started reading in this thick, southern accent at 100 mph without even stopping for air. She was like a southern accent on steroids. You had to concentrate to keep up. I started laughing and couldn’t stop. She read "Why I Live at the P.O." first. The professor sitting next to me asked if I could understand her. That’s when I realized that Eudora Welty’s accent was so thick, some people were completely lost. They sat stone-faced, staring ahead, as people so often do at readings. But I was in heaven. It was like going home without going home.

I guess we all have a few memories of readings like that. No?


myshkin2 said...

I'm pretty sure I was at that reading...along with another at Bryn Mawr, at the massively Gothic Goodhart Hall featuring an overwhelmed (by the architectural space) Elzabeth Bishop.

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

My reading at Mac's Backs was all of us authors reading to each other. Oh well.

Dan Ehrman said...

I never knew you went to bryn mawr at all! My girlfriend went there for a few years and grew up in mt desert island...small world!
Its great fun to read your perspectives. You have a wonderful way of conveying truth in an insightful and often funny way. I hope its ok I'm reading your blog...I enjoy it a lot!
dan (carole and dennis son)

Nin Andrews said...

Hi Dan,
Thanks! And thanks for reading my blog. That is a small world! Wow.

And yeah, Diane, I know. I've read mostly to authors. I think we all have.

And that's interesting, the name of the BMC hall. I don't remember much about the place. But I remember her . . . her voice in particular.