One of the things I love about being a children’s book author is reading aloud to children. Why? Because I love their unguarded reviews of the book. I love it when they say, without hesitation, “That was the best book I ever heard.” Or when I look up from a page I am reading and I can see them wrapped in the suspense of what’s going to happen next.
Adults, of course, are a bit more reserved in their audience response. But when they open up and let you know, in this case, that they liked something, it is a sweet gift.
Last night’s Dick Monologues were a howling success. From the very first song by the oh so handsome Southpaw Jones to the rivetting revelations by Rudy Ramirez (alliteration intended) , the audience warmed with each monologue, alternating between hanging on every word and rolling in the aisles. I had a blast. My monologue, Making DIck Happy, was hilarious fun to read and, with this particular audience, turned out to be a delicious give and take.
There was a moment in the middle of my monologue when I am describing my first dance with a boy and his ‘down there’ turns into boner much to my shock and amazement. Judging from the audience reaction, most of them had had a similar thing happen to them and were relating heartily. THen as I walked into the bushes with this boy who proceeded to nudge my hand to his crotch, well, the audience was on the edge of their seat. I knew as I wrote it that it would be funny but I didn’t know that when an audience is excited, so to speak, and tingling, with anticipation, so to speak, you can literally hold them in that tingly spot for a moment before you say the line: I touched it. And I did. Just before I said those three words, I looked out and paused. Just slightly. And I could hear a collective giggle trembling through the audience. One escaped and just as they were about to let loose, I said the three words and one great big spasm later, they went over the edge. Wow. Was that ever fun!
Then I turned the wheel of the monologue into a deeper, more serious place. Because the audience was warmed to me, so speak, they went with me. At the end of the evening, one woman I didn’t know came up to me, and said, “Thank you so much for writing that piece. It meant so much to me.” Words from a stranger that you’ve touched is a lovely unexpected gift. Yes. I loved emails from friends in the audience saying they loved it. But when you touch a stranger, it is a fine thing.
So thank you, Spike Gillespie for saying yes. And thank you Southpaw Jones, Sarah Barnes, Marrit Ingman, Jaycee Wilemon, Kristine Kovach, Sarah Bird, Robin Chotzinoff and Rudy Ramirez for making room for me at the table.