The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, July 21, 2014

Taking a Risk

          Reading Mary Horner's recent post--about taking a risk and sharing with students/the audience--made me think of writers who share themselves in their writing.


         Some of my favorite authors--Anne Lamott, Augusten Burroughs, Rick Bragg, Mary Karr--are writers who share ...everything. They're brutal. They cut themselves open and lay bare their bones--all the skeletons in their closets come clattering out.


          In May I joined a dozen or so other St. Louis writers for the Listen to Your Mother show. We got up on stage and shared our lives. Some of what we shared made people laugh, and other stories made the audience cry. Almost always I lead with my funny bone, but this time, I didn't.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5yGkJP7Sy8


          If you click on the link above, you'll be able to see me in all six minutes of my splendor. However, consider yourself forewarned. The photographer was ill on the day of the show, and so some of the videos got screwed up. In real life, people often mistake me for Halle Berry, so when you see someone who looks quite different from that, understand: the camera guy had problems...  

        Speaking of risk (again)--I'm friends with some writers who willingly share all sorts of things on paper, and yet when it comes time to share their writing with a live, breathing audience, they hesitate balk. These are writers whose talents are wickedly amazing ...and yet many people miss out on enjoying their gifts because of their reluctance to share at book signings and other events.


        Was there a time when you shared with an audience/family member/friend and the results were encouraging? Perhaps if my shy writer friends hear stories that ended up on a positive note, they might share the next time they get a chance...


       







28 comments:

  1. You made me cry! I find it hard to talk about my mother. She had a horrible childhood and gave a baby up when she was 14. I was the youngest and she was disappointed that I was not a boy. No matter, I am here and I am loved by my husband and children. I know she loved me ...... in her own way. My Daddy loves me and now I am losing him. Life is hard sometimes. You did a great job!!

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    1. Kathy--Thanks. I'm sorry that I made you cry, and I'm even sorrier that you perhaps had not the best childhood and that you're losing your dad. If you're both able, get some video of him talking and telling stories before it's too late.

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  2. Oh, Sioux. I wish I had a better word than beautiful to describe your story. I wrote my post a while back, but hesitated because I wasn't sure if it really said what I was trying to say. Now I know it doesn't matter, because YOU said it all. Thank you for sharing (insert better word for beautiful here) story.

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    1. Mary--Why would you hesitate? It was a perfect post to get a discussion going. And thanks for the kind words.

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  3. Wow, this was treat this morning. So glad to see and hear you. The writing was fantastic but your heart-felt reading ratcheted up the wonderful work. What a great way to start my day. Just lovely, Sioux!

    I often think my stuff is good but know it is lost on others....the rejections tell me so.:)
    But some of it I would change, it captures on the page what I feel and see...my vision. I learned to never show work to a husband or family. They don't get it. Easier to face rejection from strangers I think.

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    1. Claudia--Thank you, and you're right about the family. My kids enjoy my work, but everyone else...not so much.

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  4. That is a lovely and at the same time heartbreaking story. And you are every bit as beautiful as Halle Berry. Maybe more so. Any fool can see that.

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    1. Jono--When was the last time you had your eyes checked? ;)

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  5. It is funny how amazing writers on paper cannot stand and talk to people in 3D. I have found this over and over again.

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    1. dkzody--It is a strange thing indeed.

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  6. You have a great skill for making someone smile and cry all at the same time!

    And I agree, many artists are so talented sharing through their skill, but clam right up when it comes to their personal feelings.

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    1. Pixel Peeper--Thank you. Just think about all the wonderful stuff we're missing out on, because of the number of writers who clam up.

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  7. I'm going right past "breathtaking" to tell you that was AMAZING! You are my favorite long-boobed, boxed-hair, Halle Berry. You owned the stage.

    As far as sharing...nobody in my family gets my writing except my son Genius. He is way more interested if he's part of the story, but he will read them all if I ask. He's a laugh-out-louder. Great for my ego. And when it's clunky, he points that out.

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    1. Val--Thank goodness you didn't stop at "breathtaking." Being breathtaking would be almost as bad as being the Pigman...

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  8. Oh, Sioux, that was...I don't even know what the word is--courageous, powerful, funny. We talk about emotional truths but we don't always share them. Kudos to you, you amazing writer, amazing woman.

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    1. Cathy--I love the phrase "emotional truths."

      Thanks.

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  9. What I don't like about reading out loud is my self-editor. Even after publication I'm wanting to change this word or rearrange that sentence. However, I also know the more you do something the easier it becomes. Guess I should start raising my hand rather than ducking my head. :-)

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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    1. Pat--Don't be surprised if we're at an event together and I yank your arm up for you...that is, if you're ducking your head and not immediately volunteering.

      Consider yourself warned... ;)

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  10. Wonderful performance, Sioux! Funny how our paths in writing are as different as our lives. Love Pat's comment. I do the same thing.

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    1. Tammy--Thank you.

      You're saying that sometimes you duck your head and don't step up to the spotlight? Hmm, I never noticed. ;)

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    2. No, Sioux, I'm saying that if you plan to discuss all of my faults in public in order to encourage me not to be what you're calling shy, you have your work cut out for you. Please don't judge what you don't understand. Again, you did a lovely job.

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  11. Your performance was... well there are no words. I'm so glad I saw it "live" and I know who you are talking about (certain someone's who don't read their stuff). You already know that I've braved it...

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    1. Lynn--You have been quite brave--sharing your work in big groups.
      (And yes, you've got the inside scoop on who I'm talking about.)

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  12. I was blown away by your video reading. It is funny how listeners/readers/viewers appreciate the honesty and candid ways of others but don't want to share themselves. I've given a handful of reading experiences that didn't actually kill me, but I know my limitations so often decline speaking out loud. I have a Minnie Mouse voice that mocks any serious, weighty material. I just get so mad at myself when I can't do the words justice. And yes, sometimes I'd rather text somebody than call them up! That is Terrible! But it allows time to gather my thoughts. I'm so glad there are writers like you who can both write AND speak.

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  13. Marcia--Thanks. I think we hear our own voices and are overly critical. I hate my voice, but it's the one I'm stuck with. You do NOT have a "Minnie Mouse" voice. You can read (your) poetry aloud, and if you can read poetry and do it justice, you can read anything...

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  14. Sioux,
    You are an amazing and courageous women. Thanks for posting the link to your performance.Not only is your story moving, you read it with such passion. You made me laugh and cry.
    Lovely, lovely, lovely.

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    1. Donna--Thanks. I think teaching kids makes me willing to share anything and everything, since eight-year olds don't have much of a buffer on their mouths. I've had students hug me and tell me I feel "just like a pillow" and they draw pictures and point out that they colored my hair orange.

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  15. Sorry I'm so late getting to this. I'm playing catch-up this week, and I'm so glad I didn't miss this amazing video. You made me cry, but you made me happy, too. This piece is so honest and bittersweet, but ultimately hopeful. You're a gifted writer, and you did a wonderful reading of your story. Thank you so much for sharing. You've really touched me with this---and what a delight to finally hear your voice.

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