So. As much as I stand in front of a room full of students every day I am terrified at the thought of being in front of a room full of strangers. Of people looking at me. Compound this terror by asking me to READ my very own raw wide open words and you have last night. I had my very very first reading from This Is What I Want to Tell You at the Jefferson Market Library in Manhattan. I read with some other wonderful writers (Donna Freitas, Sarah MacLean, PE Ryan and Siobhan Vivian all moderated by David Levithan and supported too by the awesome Sarah Ockler in the front row) who were so funny and supportive and the range of voices and stories among us was impressive. I was in good company for my first public appearance and, while my voice and left foot seemed to be shaking uncontrollably, I am assured by my stunning and incredible friends that I seemed confident (I assure you. I was not).
I read Noelle to the world for the first time and what buoyed me up, what steadied my voice and amazed me and carried her out to all of these ears in the audience was the faces of my other family in the back row, the Vermont Stones who are not my relation by blood but by all other ties, the poet and musician Vermont Stones there reminding me of all the stories Ive told in 20 years and giving me strength... two beautiful Bard faces who looked up at me and gave me confidence, two Emma Willard faces who said yes we remember high school and we're here with you, and faces new to my life who still said we're here, tell us Noelle's story.
So I did. A little bit of it. And I feel sort of brave now. And so ridiculously thankful.