Submitted by megan on Sat, 06/09/2007 - 08:30
Friday nights and Saturday mornings are for nerve wracking.
Later this morning, as you'll notice over in the sidebar, I am reading at WestFest. For days I've been saying, "Hoo, yeah, pretty nervous about it." Not really feeling nervous, but knowing that I was and was just refusing to feel it.
My palms started sweating. I'm feeling it.
I've read enough times in Ottawa that I feel I've found a groove - I've gotten used to knowing, if not the whole crowd, then at least a good chunk of it. It's nice and comforting, though can get a little odd when I'm reading the more raw, sexy stuff, and I'm not quite sure where to look. As in "Oh, right, I just made eye contact with a good friend of Eric's as I said 'your cock getting thicker and darker.' Maybe I'll look at the back wall now."
Small discomfort aside, it's usually pretty cozy. Tomorrow, though? Tomorrow there are going to be some friendly faces, for sure. But it's not my element. Frances Itani, for fuck's sake. She's, like, a real writer.
It'll be good for me, I think. The nerves are good news, too. I always perform better when I've had a good case of the jitters.
Last night was a different kind of nerves. I met Eric's family. There was no doubt in my mind that they would be entirely lovely. He is one of the politest and most respectful people I've ever met, and though I'm sure nature played a role, I have a feeling that quite a bit of that is due to nurture. His oldest sister went out of her way to say hi to me on Facebook, which I thought was super sweet and extraordinarily welcoming. And I'm a nice person, and I'm nice to Eric, so there is no real reason for them to not like me. But still. What if I said something stupid? Or out of place, or didn't realize I was trying too hard till it was too late. Or, more likely, what if I couldn't think of anything to say at all and I seem like a sullen brat? Or a snoot? I don't want them to think I'm a snoot.
When we picked his oldest sister up, I clammed up. After Hi, I'm not sure I said one word on the way from her house to his other sister's house. I didn't really say anything for the rest of the night, either, though I could tell I had loosened up by the end of the night, because I told one of my long hand-flapping stories while Karen was in the car. There was one part of my brain telling the story and another part thinking, wow, you've chilled out, eh?
They're such a nice family together. Teasing, but sweet. Really funny. Tanya and her husband Guy had just gotten back from Germany and had a lot of stories. I laughed pretty hard, particularly one that involved them getting on a train that kept reversing direction after one stop. It felt easy to be with them, even though I was too shy to say anything.
I have it good though. Most of my family is really nice too, but my dad? Eesh. While I love him and am very much like him, my father is a gruff, impatient, cranky man. He has little tolerance for bullshit and makes no bones about telling people when he feels they're bullshitting, which sometimes creates what I see as needless conflict. In the past, he has been more likely to grunt at my boyfriends than talk to them. Really though, he's a huge softie. But it took even me a long time to see that.
If you've got the time today, please do come see me pretend to not be nervous on the same stage as Frances Itani. It would be lovely to have a friendly face out there. I promise to do more than grunt at you.