The book reading took place by Tate Modern at 3:30pm close to the Gallery Shop on a green (or rather yellow) patch of grass. We had nice picnic blankets to sit on, the best London weather we could ask for, and of course, possibly the best bunch of people attending.
Most of the guests came to the book reading just a few moments before the book reading took place. A simple flyer that I handed out to the people explained what’s the whole fuss about. It went on like this:
I’m doing a book reading of my upcoming book, The Girl Who Wanted to Catch a Cloud in a Marmalade Jar. The main character was inspired by children who invented their own book heroes and thanks to that, they could see the big, great heroes in themselves. Now you’re invited to become one too. My book reading is happening at 3:30pm on that green patch of grass. [Here I would point out the direction.] Will you join us?
Now comes the surprising part: most people actually were interested, even tough they heard about the book for the first time! A cloud? To catch it? In a marmalade jar? Yes, my dear, that’s what we’re doing today. Doing the impossible. You’re in you say? Perfect!
The smallest attendant was as little as 3 year old and I’m really grateful for her dad who not only trusted me in creating an appropriate programme for his daughter, but I also acknowledge him for introducing his kids to literature so early.
The book reading itself was a breeze. Of course I was nervous about whether people would like it or not. And also about whether someone would come or not. But as soon as I dropped it, magic happened. Everyone listened. Everyone applaused. For the first time in 20 minutes of reading, I was speechless.
Finally, there was one last thing I asked my audience to do. I had created a couple of real marmalade jars filled with clouds disigned for donations to Children’s Reading Fund. Four people bought them and half of the revenue went to the charity. Good stuff. I’m proud of my readers for being so supportive.
And I’ve learnt from this? That people don’t care about perfection. They don’t care whether the story was first draft or a final version (in this case first draft). What they really care about is the feeling they leave with. And they left inspired, hopefully to do something as great as we accomplished together on that lovely sunny day.