Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Ivy House gig

I did it! My first ever event as an author! In London! On a stage! It was an amazing experience...

I didn't feel nervous to start with - too busy taking money on the door and catching up with folks I'd met before and introducing myself to those I knew only through digital channels. Bought myself a pint of Rosie's Pig cloudy cider, and determined not to drink too much before my slot...

L to R: Debi Alper, Sophie Wellstood, Sally Swingewood, Helen Hardy
and Andrew James at the SfH table
 Folk started rolling in...the music began at 8, and we were off.

Dan Maitland (3rd from left) and the band, jazzing things up.
As 9.30 got closer, I could feel myself zoning out, focusing on the book I was gripping.

Up on stage, I'd asked for a stool, because I always feel happiest reading to kids when I'm sat in a chair; I figured that even though my audience was a bit older than what I'm used to, I may as well make myself comfortable.

So I started reading...

My heart tried to jump out of my chest, which tightened in response. Part of me was wondering whether there'd be any implications for the hole in my heart (discovered a couple of years back) whilst still focussing on the words. At one point, the room started swimming and I had to slide my foot to the floor to anchor myself. I tried to remember everything I'd been told about reading in public; Go slower than you think you ought to. Add emphasis. Really speak the dialogue. Look up ocassionally to make contact with the listeners.

I think it went OK. I have dim recollections of a sea of half-lit faces and the sound of my voice...followed by a smattering of applause.

Bit blurry - but me, doing the eye contact thing.

Only when I got back to my seat did the shakes start. That's when I decided it was definitely time for Rosie's Pig.
I look as relieved as I felt...
There are other things which made the event so memorable for me...and I'm not just talking about the Words and Music.

* Sally, who put me up on her sofabed with lots of lovely handmade quilts to keep me toasty warm, and her cat, who came in to see me about 6.30am to demand breakfast!
* Spike, my cameraman for the evening.
* the sense of belonging and commitment to this wonderful project, and doing it all on the day after the SfH community had been recognised as Heroes by Shelter.
* seeing the London city skyline lit up in white and red lights when I arrived at Nunhead, and sitting over the River Thames on Blackfriar's Bridge.
* how quiet London is at night.

Would I do it all again? In a heartbeat - even in several very thumpy ones! I feel a lot more like a 'real' author now...


  1. Wonderful squidge. Could feel my heart pounding with your excitement. You were so nervous you probably forgot to breathe!!

    1. Too right! Saving all my breath for the story...

  2. Lovely... I feel like I am there, sharing your excitement! What a heart-warming, heart-thumping jolly good experience! Thanks for sharing! X

  3. Your nerves didn't show in the slightest. Thanks for being such a star. x

  4. Jolly good show, K. Generous of you to give of your time, but an uplifting reward for doing so. :-) Stevie x

  5. Fabulous, Squidgers! Well done you and good luck Stories For Homes!!!

  6. I had no idea you were so nervous! You were wonderful! And this is a lovely account. Thank-you!

  7. Well done, Squidge! Sounds like it was a really fab night :-D

  8. Aw, thanks everyone...and yes, I really did get that nervous!

  9. Well done! And - it will get better and more fun each time. Here's to the first of many!

    1. Thanks, Spi! I know - I see how much fun you have doing yours with 'Bother in Burmeon'!

  10. Sounds like it was fabulous! Well done :)

  11. Sorry to have missed it, but glad it went well. Great to have events told to me. Thanks.