Improving my spoken word performance is an ongoing mission. There’s no substitute for actually reading live, and I have my first two events of the year booked in for February. First up is a support slot at Dreamfired on Valentine’s Day, and then I’m top of the bill (eek!) for Verbalise at the end of the month.
As well as actual readings, I’ve started looking for workshops. I attended a great Spotlight session in Lancaster with Brindley Hallam Dennis last year. He set the class the truly startling task of having other people read our work. My workshop partner went through my flash piece Marrow at a third of the pace I usually do, really savouring the words, and she made it three times better. That was an important lesson. I’ve also taken a huge amount from veteran performer David Hartley’s tips for spoken word.
I watch a lot of readings, both live and online, to see how other writers project and present their words. I’ve seen some great stuff, and some terrible stuff. This performance by Shane Koyczan is absolutely, completely, one of the very best. I’ve listened to it a dozen times, and it grows ever more wonderful.