The reading was, well, what can I say…

This is what a person should do, and have, at a reading: bring a bottle of water, and maybe some aspirin, and a box of kleenex. Remember to introduce yourself, then speak clearly and loudly. Read slowly. Don’t cry. When people ask questions, repeat them, loudly, before you answer them. Have business cards ready, with the correct spelling of your name and your email address and maybe your website address, too. Start on time, and finish on time.

But I didn’t do any of those things.

I forgot the water, I had a headache. I didn’t have a kleenex. I forgot to introduce myself, and I spoke quietly. I have no business cards in my purse (though I have a matchbox fire truck and a bag of animal crackers.) The reading started a half-hour or so late; it ended much later.

This is what happened: Kelly, the store’s Community Relations Manager, supplied the glass of water. She also introduced me, and though we started late, no one seemed to mind. When I spoke too softly, someone gently asked me to be louder. In the middle part, when I write about love, a tear escaped from my eyelid, trailing down my nose, followed by another. A box of kleenex appeared.

During the question-and-answer period, when my mind was a blank, Mary remembered to ask me about the photos in Gifts, so I could speak about them. MaryAnn remembered to bring up the Buddy Walk in September, so then I could talk about community. And Cyndi asked about my book, so I remembered I was writing one, and I talked about that, too.

The essay I read from Gifts has a part about hands lifting me up, when I couldn’t find my own way. It felt the same, today. Hands lifted me up. The afternoon was a gift–but it isn’t clear who was giving, and who was receiving.

I think everyone was doing both.

I had Avery’s smiley-face figure with me, I was wearing Amy’s beautiful DS awareness bracelet, and I had a pocketful of good wishes from all of you. I felt them, and they were another gift of the day.

Thank you.

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18 thoughts on “The reading was, well, what can I say…

  1. Your great gift is your openness – sharing such personal thoughts with others – I bet they loved hearing you speak, meeting you. Glad it went well and that there were fellow ‘givers’ there too lend a hand.

  2. I can’t imagine speaking in front of people LOL I submitted a story for Gifts II…won’t find out till 2009 @@ to know if it will be in the book. Congrats to you though..I can’t wait to get a copy and read it!

  3. Oh Jennifer, you are probably being too hard on yourself. I’m sure it was a beautiful reading and I’m sorry about the headache! I probably would have been bawling reading excerpts! I start crying when I read e-mails outloud to my husband that I thought were sweet. Anyway, good for you, and who cares about business cards! I’m sure you have a box of those at home too! I love the fact that you had a fire truck and animal crackers though! Very cute. 🙂

  4. Nik and I are clapping (Nik even claps with his feet!) for our new friend’s success. Thank YOU, Jennifer, for sharing of yourself and your family. You touch the lives of many, including non-DS families. If you’re ever on the east coast for a reading…(or vacation, or whatever!)

  5. I went to pick up my copy of gifts at B&N this weekend and thought of your reading! I’m sure you did a wonderful job, and I’m so glad you did it – I’ve been so touched by all of the stories in the book.

  6. You did fabulous! As I was watching and listening, I just kept thinking of how wonderful it is that mothers of new babies can be comforted by your honest feelings and words. You are assisting in some very difficult moments, as well as reinforcing the steady love and growth in families touched by those with DS. Good job Jennifer. I was again touched and moved by your words. Goodness to you!

  7. OH I sure hope my bracelet helped. It sounded like you had a wonderful group of people there supporting you and that you did great! I wish I could of been there!!!

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