If you're in the South Florida area, feel free to join us tonight at Hollywood Vine on Harrison Street in Hollywood. The reading starts at 7 p.m., and you'll have the chance to hear not just me; I'll be joined by Shefali Choksi and Marissa Cohen. The location is lovely, and you can buy wine and beer by the glass; you can buy bottles of wine and spirits to take home with you. We'll also be selling books!
I feel a bit more nervous about this reading, and it's taken me some time to understand why. I feel responsible for the venue, since I made the arrangements, and yet, the venue isn't really under my control. When I've had a poetry reading at a church, I've known where the extra chairs are. Tonight, if we have a surprisingly big crowd, I'm not sure what happens. I've told my contact at the wine store that we're expecting 25-50, and he's said they've had events for 100-150 before, so everything should work. Still, I feel a bit fretful.
It's also one of the first times I've done a reading at a place that's a commercial business where people may not be expecting poetry. I've done readings at libraries, colleges, bookstores--all places frequented by people who wouldn't be hostile to poetry. Not that I'm expecting wine lovers to be hostile, but it will be a change of pace. We're the first poetry reading the store has had.
I expect it to go well, despite my fretfulness. If lots of people show up, and it's standing room only--that's a good thing, right? If we have some reluctant wine lovers listening, well, perhaps they'll enjoy themselves anyway. If we end up needing amplification, I'll just have to live with days of my spouse saying, "I told you to think about this."
It's strange how this has taken me outside my comfort zone, from having to muster my courage to ask the store if we could do it all the way up to today, where I'm feeling all that last minute anxiety (what to wear? how much change to have? have I chosen the right poems? what if no one likes them? what if everyone wants to buy my books, and I don't have enough change?). I'm telling myself that it's good to move outside my comfort zone, since my next move is to send out press releases about the book and to write to various festivals to see if I might be part of them.
So, come tonight to Hollywood Vine. Or come back to the blog tomorrow, where I'll post a write-up and perhaps pictures and perhaps video.