My First Public Author Event

Thank you so much to everyone who attended my first “author event” at City Lit Books Thursday evening. It’s been a tremendous source of joy to discover that people take an active interest in books — that I can schedule an event to talk about my book and people actually walk away GLAD they went. That this is a phenomenon I can participate in just bowls me over, and makes me feel like I’ve finally found my voice.
Reading at City Lit Books – Photos and Collage by Jenny Moran

I was especially touched that Tina, whom my wife and I just met recently while having a truly remarkable dinner at Elizabeth Restaurant, drove in from the suburbs for the reading, and even convinced her son, her cousin, and her cousin’s son to come along.  Tina, you’re a woman of your word, and you made my night.

We also had a Seattle contingent attending via Skype, from just about the best place I can imagine a reading has ever been attending: Saké Nomi, easily one of the nation’s best sake bars (and retail shop).  Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I now have this fun photo of me reading in Chicago, simulcast on the TV over the bar:

Discussing Upload at City Lit, in Chicago… simulcast on the TV at Saké Nomi in Seattle.  Photo by Jimmy Grisham.


The best part of the evening, for me, was the Q&A that followed the reading.  Everyone asked great questions, and the questions just kept coming… and I actually felt like I knew what the hell I was talking about!  When I started my software development career, almost twenty years ago, I often felt like a fake.  I felt like four years of college wasn’t enough, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever feel comfortable claiming expertise.  I think a lot of people starting a new endeavor feel this way — are you really qualified to be doing what you’re doing?  I expected to feel the same way at my first author event.  But I didn’t.  I absolutely suck at bullshitting my way through pretty much anything… and I didn’t have to.  There were a few times where I scrambled for coherent responses, but I felt like the answers were coming from honest reflection, not from some sense of what I “should” say, what a real author would say.  This was a huge confidence boost for me, and makes me eager to step into the role of “author” as public speaker, not just the person behind the printed words.  I wasn’t scared, I didn’t feel like I was faking my way through; I felt like I had something to say, I could say it with a fair degree of authority, and I could have fun doing it.  And best of all, people actually wanted to hear it.  Wow.

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