Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ninth Annual Literature Festival

I was invited to speak on a panel with other writers at Union Settlement's 9th Annual Literature Festival on May 15th. I was slated to appear at 6:15 p.m. to discuss Memoir Writing or to read an excerpt from an essay.

I wasn't nervous as two of my adult basic education students thought, but I did wonder what would happen once the event started. The auditorium was filled with local artists' paintings, sculptures, and student artwork and collages.

My only concern was prior to going on stage, I thought was underdressed, but dismissed the fears when I looked around to room and saw some of the other writers in casual attire.

The director called the first set of panelists to the stage, and we were underway. After a spoken word artist talked about his background and poetry, I introduced myself and began reading an excerpt from a new essay about family photos and history. My excerpt was simultaneously translated into Spanish for those in the audience who didn't speak and/or completely understand English.

I had to stop reading the excerpt because of time constraints, and then shifted to an impromptu How I Write discussion. I brought along an envelope of photos and explained how I translated the photos into words, as if my reader was visually-impaired. What would these pictures look like to a person who can't see, and only has to rely on braille or the essay being read to them?

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