NOTE: This class is the perfect companion for our brand new Writing Salon monthly READING SERIES that will kick off on Saturday, Feb. 23rd from 6 to 8 p.m. at Progressive Grounds coffeehouse just around the corner from our SF classroom location. We’ll be inviting both teachers and students to read their work.
“I used to be terrified to speak in public,” says instructor Loren Rhoads. “In fact, I was terrified to raise my hand in class, or to speak French in my French classes. I would answer if called upon but never volunteered. I took a D in one of my required classes because 80% of the grade came from giving a presentation. When forced to speak in class, my heart would pound so hard I was sure I’d have a stroke. I never knew how loud my voice was, since I could barely hear it over my hammering chest.
“As I began to get published, I’d agree to read at release events but later would back out. It was awful. I let people down because I was a coward.
“Eventually, though, I forced myself to do it. It helped when I once saw a videotape of myself talking to the crowd. You couldn’t see how terrified I was. It helped even more when I watched a local slam poet read, and the manuscript shook so much in her hand, I wondered how she could see the words. If she was that nervous, then it was okay for me to be, too.
“I’ve been speaking in public now for 14 years. I’ve read in bars, bookstores, cafes, kindergarten classes, and on the radio. I’ve spoken at book festivals, writer’s conferences, and cemeteries. I’ve hosted open mics and readings, told stories and given awards. I’ve performed while coming down with the flu and colds, recovering from laryngitis, and suffering from morning sickness. What hasn’t killed me really has make me stronger. Performing in public has stopped scaring me to death, finally. I’ve learned some tricks that help, and would love to pass them on.”
During this class, Loren will show you how to: 1) Prepare your work to be read aloud, 2) Rehearse enough but not too much, 3) Overcome the jitters, 4) Correct when things go wrong, 5) Set up your own solo readings, 6) Emcee group readings, and 7) Most importantly, promote your events so people will come.
Loren Rhoads was the editor of Morbid Curiosity magazine for ten years, and hosted annual release readings that drew as many as a hundred people. She’s read at Adobe Books, Books Inc. on Market, Borderlands, City Lights, Pegasus Books, Cypress Lawn Cemetery, and the Hypnodrome. She’s performed on radio from college stations to pirate radio to KFOG to NPR. She’s set up group readings, solo readings, release events, fundraisers, open mics, and spoken at writers’ conferences and storytelling events… Not bad at all for someone who was too timid in school to raise her hand!