Film Fests and Fireworks
Posted on 03 July 2012
If you ever get the chance to have an actor give a dramatic reading of your work, take it! Seriously, it’s fantastic. At least it is when the actor is Blair Leatherood and he gives a pitch perfect reading. He read my story “Q&A at the Film Fest” and I was amazed by how he got everything right — the tone, the dialogue, everything. (This picture is of him touching his face while describing a character’s scar.)
I had a difficult time deciding which story would be best for the Stories on Stage series, by the way. Hearing a story out loud and reading it on the page are incredibly different experiences, and I wasn’t confident many of the stories in Living Arrangements were well suited for this type of dramatic reading. In the end, I think Valerie (the founder of Stories on Stage) chose wisely when she selected “Q&A at the Film Fest,” a newer story inspired in part by my annual trips to the Cleveland International Film Festival. The protagonist is cynical and colorful in a way that lends itself well to this type of performance.
The audience was gracious and laughed a lot at all the right places. In fact, I tried to hold myself back from laughing too much at my own story — or, more specifically, at Blair’s delivery. (Afterward, an audience member told me it was fascinating to watch me watching my story being read.)
Following my story, Victoria Goldblatt read three short pieces by Lynn Freed. I believe a video of the event should be available soon – I hope so, because I’d love to share both of the evening’s performances with all of you. (Update: The video is available here.) For now, here are some photos. As always, they are compliments of Peter:
The founder of Stories on Stage, Valerie Fioravanti, did a fabulous job. She works tirelessly to put on these events and has clearly done a lot for Sacramento’s literary scene. I’m also proud to say that Valerie and I are press sisters — her debut short story collection, Garbage Night at the Opera, won the 2011 G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize and will be published by BkMk Press this fall. I owe her many thanks for putting on a such a great event. This weekend was more than just a book event for me — it inspired me to give back more to Cleveland’s literary community and got me excited about my new stories, which I hope will one day make up my second story collection.
Now I’m back in Cleveland and have already managed to mire myself in some stress by trying to meet a semi-self-imposed, semi-real deadline and crank out and revise a new piece in a matter of days. And here I thought I’d have a relaxing Fourth of July.
Speaking of the Fourth of July, the scar in “Q&A at the Film Fest” was caused by a bottle rocket. This brings me to my serious, end-of-post question: As a child, what type of firework was your favorite? And you can’t say sparklers. Everyone loves sparklers, even still.