Last night I was invited to read at the Tandem Reading Series along with Sean Ferrell and Evan Mandery, both of whom are much smarter than me. This was intimidating, especially since the theme of the reading was Time Travel, and both Sean and Evan’s new novels have time travel as a component. My newest novel does not, nor did I have any novels that do. So I was anticipating the kind of evening where I would be forced to drop my trousers just to please the crowd, and would then shuffle off the stage, pants around my ankles and tears streaming down my face. As usual.
But then I remembered a story I’d written recently. Not a time-travel story per se, but a story that had the travel through time as a component. This cheered me, and I thought perhaps I might make it through the evening without humiliation after all.
Before the reading, the three of us were penned in away from the crowd for everyone’s safety:
We look relatively sane and happy, I admit. I got to read first, followed by Sean and then Evan:
Then our talented and charming host, Brooks Sherman, gathered us together for a spirited Q&A session, though we don’t appear so happy for this part of the evening, for some reason:
For me, this was where the tears started. Brooks’ questions went something like this:
Brooks: Sean, your novels are so complex. I love how you interweave time travel in your latest with self-examination, leaving this reader visibly flushed with excitement after reading it.
Sean: Sorry, was there a question in there?
Brooks: Evan, your novel taught me things about myself I wasn’t aware of. I am a better person for having read your book.
Jeff: Hey, I’ve been sitting here for half an hour, ask me a question!
Brooks: Of course. Er … you talk a lot about pants on your blog. What’s up with that?
And so it goes.
No, seriously, it was a great time. Thanks to brooks and the Tandem Reading Series for inviting me, Sean and Evan for tolerating my presence next to them, and everyone who came out for supporting us all!