Youthful responses

“Perhaps the most revolting of all the vaudeville acts was Hadji Ali. The Great Regurgitator, as he was known, could at will swallow then spew forth a series of coloured handkerchiefs…”
~ Binnie Brennan (Acadia University talk)

There was a nice crowd at my recent reading in a university library, most of the audience there of their own free will. In attendance there were students of a creative-writing class, all of them fresh-faced and so very¬†new-looking. Some of them were taking notes and others simply listening as I filled their ears with stories of vaudeville and Buster Keaton’s life as a vaudevillian, and read from my novel. I was deeply encouraged to note that not one person was scratching away at a mobile phone, and I was able to make eye contact with all of them during the course of my talk. It was fun, and I was energized by the experience.

Acadia reading 1 (9 Feb_15_c)

It pleased me deeply to read some of the students’ responses, which one of their professors kindly forwarded:

Choosing to go to Binnie Brennan’s ‘Authors at Acadia’ was one of the best decisions I’ve made all week, and I’m not exaggerating! I was pleased to hear that she was mentored by Alistair McLeod, and I have read so much by him… I was also riveted by the readings from her book, and it made me severely want to purchase it for my own collection, even though I really have no time for personal reading right now.


I got so caught up in Billy and Lucinda’s first performance that by the end I actually sighed with relief that it went off without a hitch.


…I also felt that Brennan’s reading added something that could not be gained from reading the piece myself; I found her hushed but engaged voice helped to convey the awe… her fictional audience members had for the art that was being shared with them.¬†

At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, I was surprised and flattered to have held the attention of these young listeners. I hope they’ll sniff out some of Keaton’s movies, and that when they have time for personal reading, maybe they’ll make room on their bookshelf for, well, you know what.




Categories: General.