No blog today. I agreed to do a book reading tonight at the Skylight Bookstore here in Los Angeles, therefore it’s imperative that I spend the day panicking. Pick which bits to read, rehearse them, change mind about which bits to read, rehearse those instead, pace up and down, take Advil, regret saying yes to this in the first place…I have a full schedule.
Plus, I nurse this weird, terrible premonition that I’m going to be attacked. Physically. By someone in the audience. Or heckled.
Why that is I don’t know, because my book is hardly controversial. But I forget sometimes that I’m on the radio, and there are people out there who just hate my stuff, plain and simple. Or I’ve criticized them in the past and they’ve been waiting years to meet me in person and get their own back. (Thank god my family lives in Britain, quite honestly!) Maybe subconsciously that’s why I never do public anythings: I’m terrified of my audience.
Oh, and I get embarrassed really easily, that’s another major factor.
I have an Alarmed Friend. She wrote a few days ago to say that she and her husband would be attending tonight as a show of loyalty and love. Well, naturally, I discouraged them. Friends, in the audience, watching me sweat and mess up? Please, no.
“Goodness, you don’t wanna do that,” I told her. “I’m reading for twenty minutes only, and there are three other authors….you’ll have to sit through their work too….and I bet the seats are hard….and these bookstores, they don’t have good ventilation very often… and I hear it’s a gay event – you’re not even gay…” and so on.
I really laid it on a plate. In the end, they both pulled out. A wise move.
Now, though, I’m having second thoughts. I regret putting them off. I mean, what if someone in the audience does decide to attack me? Or I get verbally trashed by an unknown assailant holed up in the Philosophy/Psychology Section? What then? I might welcome an ally in the crowd, someone who goes over and shuts them up. And believe me, my alarmed friend is just the person to do that. She don’t take no crap from nobody, y’know what I’m sayin’?
For once, I’m entirely exposed. Naked. Not safe in a radio studio, the way I usually am, or sitting at my computer at home, or on the other side of a camera, where I can’t be touched. I’m right there among people. People who are fickle, and only six feet away, close enough to see the blackheads on my nose, and who could leap up on any pretext and grab me and drag me to the floor and pummel…
No, I have to stop this!
It’s a book reading, not the WWF. I’ll be fine. Twenty minutes. Reading. From. My. Book. That’s. All. It. Is.
Seriously, what could possibly go wrong?