My Farewell Reading

As the semester wraps up, it’s starting to become more and more real that I won’t be coming back to Miami next year. It will be the first time in five years where Miami won’t be my home, and I won’t have classes to attend, or homework to complain about. It’s weird.

But the end of the year, though bittersweet, is always accompanied by some great events. Like the “Goodbye Forever” final grad student reading. Not only was it the last reading of the year, but it was the very first time I got up in front of a (very large) crowd and read my own work. For everyone outside of the fiction program, it was the first time they’ve heard or seen something I’ve written. It was exciting, scary, and as soon as it was over, I wanted to do it again.

I’d say I did alright. I practiced a little before hand, but not enough to allow me brief glances at the audience. The whole “eye contact” thing would have been great, but I figured for my first go at it, not flubbing the words would be better. I even got some solid laughs! I may have preempted the biggest joke in the story by chortling at it first, before actually delivering it. Everyone said it was endearing, but I’m going for the hard sell, deadpan delivery next time. It’s what the story deserves.

The other readers were amazing. I got to hear a number of the second years that had also never read before and damn, I am sad to see them go. Check out the names on that flyer because you will see them in print someday. And definitely catch them at a reading if you can, because they are great.

Unusual for a reading, but a great treat, was listening to a short concert put on by Ellery (www.ellerymusic.com), which consists of one of my grad school friends and her lovely husband. I’d never heard them play, but they have had quite the success in recent years and actually only went to grad school to try something different.

I, of course, bought both their CDs and you should too. They are fantastic. And if you ever get to see them live–wow. Just, wow.

It was a great night–sad, but wonderful. There are so many people that I hope I keep in touch with, or at least see again sometime in the future. Somehow it feels like grad school lasted an eternity, and yet my time with these people was way too short.

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