Monday, November 15, 2010

Fear and Loving in First Readings

Last Friday, as Connie Pan and Rebecca Thomas watched the traffic pass by on University Avenue, they briefly contemplated suicide. Instead, they played live-action Frogger, crossed the street, and entered Zenclay to prepare for Friday night’s reading.

“Why did I volunteer for this?” Rebecca asked Connie, as they waited in line for their delicious beverages.

“So we can get it over with,” Connie said and ordered a cold, blue beverage.

They clutched their delicious beverages, holding them up to their foreheads, wiping away beads of sweat, waiting to receive the line-up for the night.

With their beverages in hand, suddenly a little braver, they ascended the stairs and witnessed the sea of chairs that would soon be full of people.

They wanted to vomit. This is why they gave up hopes and dreams of becoming rock stars: stage fright.

“Do we know the line-up yet?” they asked Heather Frese, but she shook her head no. Christina Rothenbeck was stuck in cursed Morgantown traffic.

So they sat, in the back of the room, waiting, drinking, and exchanging smiles that did not comfort each other.

“I hope I get to go early,” Rebecca said.

“I don’t,” Connie said.

Christina entered. They received their fate. It was a fear sandwich: Connie first, Rebecca last. They considered Parent Trapping it and being the other for the night. Instead, they finished their beverages and waited for the night to begin.

Alex Berge emceed, started the show, and Connie Pan walked to the plastic podium. She had been hoping for something solid, something to hide behind or lean against, but instead, she was forced to work with a transparent croquet wicket. She started to read, she finished, and she doesn’t remember anything in between.

The top bread of the fear sandwich was finished (Authors’ note: We recognize that although nobody eats a sandwich this way, we thought our audience might like the nod to deconstruction.). However, the bottom half of the bread still wanted to vomit. Luckily, the innards made for a delightful distraction.

Connie and Rebecca sat, one a little more relaxed than the other, and were swept away on a wave of words by such wonders as: Ben Bishop, Justin Crawford, Charity Gingerich, Christina Rothenbeck, Danielle Ryle, Rebecca Schwab, Shane Stricker, and Christina Wulf.

Everyone had gone. Rebecca knew her time had come. Alex deftly introduced her, and with a sinking stomach, she walked up and began to read. The next thing she knew, she was finished.

As Connie and Rebecca left Zenclay that night, they crossed the street without having to dodge any traffic. No longer did they feel the urge to jump in front of a car.

Can’t wait to see the rest of the first years for Spring 2011: Jamie Kegg (you were missed!), Rebecca Childers, Sara Kearns, Andi Stout, Jeremiah Shelor, Anthony Fabbricatore, and Melissa Atkinson.


  1. RebCon, you both rocked it!

    (Also, thanks to Rebecca's precedent-setting Mexican restaurant scene that led to a taco-licious gathering at Rio Grande, it has now been decided that every last reader must set their story in a restaurant so as to prompt a post-reading gathering.)

  2. This part of the audience liked the reference to deconstruction (oh, and also the references to vomiting, which is sort of the same thing). :-)