Working Out the Reading Kinks

On Thursday, a friend brought me to the Burlington Slam Project, a monthly event held in my hometown of Burlington, Ontario. When I first learned about it I was amazed that I’d never heard of it. After attending it, I was kicking myself even more. My friend and I have talked at length about the art scene in Burlington, specifically the fact that there’s a lot of talent there but very few venues for it to be seen without traveling to Toronto or Hamilton. The BSP only confirmed the first point more, as I got the chance to listen to some brilliantly poignant and hilarious poets, reading from original work or new interpretations of classics, like a duet of “The Tyger” by William Blake. The winner of Thursday’s slam, and my personal favorite from the night, was a gentleman named Dan Murray. In addition to demonstrating kick-ass guitar and singing talent, he performed a spoken word poem of Lucifer calling into a radio station dating service – any attempt to describe it could not possibly do justice to how much my sides hurt from laughing. So just check out Dan for yourself here or here.

As well as taking in some of the hidden talent in my hometown, I went to the BSP to participate in the open mic. I think I was the only person in the entire night (between the open mic and the slam) reading fiction. I also realized shortly before going up that I hadn’t read publicly from my work in four years, since the launch of That Not Forgotten in 2012. That brought on the nerves pretty quick, but I already knew I was treating that reading as a way to work out the kinks before Can*Con, where I’ll be reading as well. The excerpt I read seemed to be well-received, and someone commented afterward that he was impressed at the way I made each character sound unique (there are five speaking in the excerpt) not just in the way they were written, but in the way I spoke – something I wasn’t doing consciously, so that’s pretty cool. I’m just happy I didn’t totally fuck up 🙂

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That’s me in 2012! This also puts to bed recent concerns that my hairline is receding…

Incidentally I can add some publishing news to this, since the story I read from on Thursday, “Coding Haven,” is now available in Keystone Chronicles. You can get an eBook copy of the anthology on Amazon or Smashwords (or a trade paperback on Amazon, if you’re like me and prefer paper). My story focuses on a programmer trying to save humanity from inside a simulation of Earth – her first attempt to save us, which has apparently gone awry. If you’re interested in reviewing the anthology, please let me know and I can set you up with a free review copy.

My concerns about being rusty as a reader and plugging my own work aside, I don’t want to overshadow the brilliance that is the Burlington Slam Project. If you like experimental literature and you’re in the area, please go check this event out – it is an absolute blast. 3rd Thursday of every month at the Black Bull – further details on their website: https://burlingtonslam.wordpress.com/

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