Sunday, November 15

Much Work To Do

I WAS VERY NERVOUS at having my work read out in front of a crowd, small as it was; overall, that is what I was most nervous about. The lady reading them read the other finalists’ entries, too, in a jolly manner, mildly theatrical. She performed little actions at times with the actions from the stories. I feared what she would do to my words. They were my words after all, and I had composed them most tenderly in a drunken night of sadness. I find it uncomfortable reading back over my writing – even to check spelling and grammar – so this occasion was most awkward. At the end of it, my friend leaned over and asked—‘Is that how you imagined it being read?’ He had this sarcastic smile on his face. ‘A little too peppy,’ I replied.
The other finalists sat at the front, in front of the modest audience. The host asked if I would join them up there (after confirming my name), but I replied—‘I’m okay, thanks, I’ll just sit here if that’s all right?’ My hands were perspiring considerably, soaking through my white t-shirt. I did not like to hear my piece being read; whether or not it was the reader, but all the spark was gone and I was no longer proud of it. Each sentence brought a sense of shame to me and I disliked my style, my voice, my effort. It took too long to end.
When it ended I decided that I have much work to do.
The winner was announced and from the first syllable I knew that it was not me – but the victor had produced the only story I liked out of the finalists, so that I did not mind too much. We gave a round of applause. I had my photograph taken and found that my eyes could not focus on a single thing, but that was okay. One of the judges approached and told me how much she loved my story, how evocative it was and how she as though felt she was there. It was quite pleasant to hear her kind words, but people talking about my writing unsettles me. I am someone who dislikes associating with artists and only sits alone at home writing and writing for no particular reason at all. Maybe Pessoa was the same, I think.

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