On Saturday, February 16, +David James Keaton put together a reading and invited me to attend. I rode down to Louisville with my friend +Rick Schmelz. He’s from the general area, had to stop at his brother’s house anyway, and it had been a while since the two of us had gotten a chance to hang out. We ended up making fantastic time on the way down and arrived at the location early. Though we missed getting the chance to hang out with David and his wife ahead of time, Rick and I were still able to have a couple drinks, grab some food, and talk.
The lovely wife stayed at home and hung out with her friend Vanessa. Maria just wasn’t up to riding in the car for that length of time or being out in public that late. And she knew I needed that day a lot. As much as I did want to meet David and participate in the reading, honestly, simply getting out of the house for a reason other than a doctor’s appointment was something I needed desperately. We’ve had so many issues for the last couple months getting Maria’s prescriptions straightened out after changing therapists. On one hand, that hassle has been worth it. The new therapist is also a nurse and specializes in helping people who are going through some kind of physical health issue, like Maria’s deteriorating eyesight. But it’s also sent my stress level through the roof. Most of the added headache with her meds has been so unnecessary that that one thing I’ve taken from the entire fiasco is confirmation that our health care system is completely broken, even with insurance.
The reading went well for the most part. I got to meet Dave, his wife, and the other two readers briefly. We arranged the order alphabetical, so I opened and read “Go Away” from Protectors. I think it was well-received. The audience reacted to the parts I wanted them to, and during the break someone tracked me down outside to tell me how much they liked the story. That’s always a good feeling.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay the entire time. Midnight was Vanessa’s cutoff for hanging out—she had had the flu earlier in the week—and I didn’t want to leave Maria alone too long. I’m glad David invited and I’m doubly glad I went. Besides the chance to put some of my worries aside for half-a-day, I needed to be confronted with the two things I need to work on: reading in front of an audience and working the meet-and-greet. Neither one of those are my strong suits.
That, at least, is good stress.