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Navigating the Land of If Reading at Politics and Prose

You know those dreams where you show up to school with no pants? I showed up to my first book reading with no notes.

The night before the reading, I typed up a page of things I wanted to talk about in terms of the book and blog. I printed it off, folded the paper, and tucked it into the book, proud of myself for being so freakin’ prepared.

The next afternoon, I am waiting in the back office with the store owner, Carla Cohen, prior to the reading and we’re chatting. She asks if I’m prepared because we’re about to walk out to the podium. I pull out my book and notes and unfold the paper to find myself looking at a blank page. The printer must have spat out two pieces of paper–a blank sheet and my notes. And I grabbed the blank one.

So, I winged it. And this is a video of me winging it that Josh made of my first book reading (we had to break it into two videos, each about 20 minutes) if you want to feel like you were there too. I especially love the strange face I’m making in the freeze-frame for the first one. Other dates and locations are currently being set, and I will announce those once they’re in stone.

Part One:

Reading & Discussion of “Navigating the Land of IF” by Melissa Ford from StirrupQueens on Vimeo.

Part Two:

Reading & Discussion of “Navigating the Land of IF” by Melissa Ford Part II from StirrupQueens on Vimeo.

Also, some pictures from the day. Thank you so much to all of the DCers who came out for my very first reading and I hope to meet so many of you at future readings too.


1 Another Dreamer { 07.13.09 at 2:13 pm }

How awesome! I enjoyed the videos of it, and the pictures.

2 Lorza { 07.13.09 at 2:53 pm }

WOW. That is awesome! I am so proud of you. I must be hormonal…I just teared up reading this. 🙂

3 Shelby { 07.13.09 at 3:32 pm }

This was fantastic. I watched the whole thing and wished I could've been there. I can't wait to read the book. Any chance you might be doing a talk in the California area? Bay area perhaps? 🙂 I think us Bay Area IFers could gather quite an audience for you!

4 Io { 07.13.09 at 3:44 pm }

This is so cool! I'm glad you posted the video.
I am going to bring my copy to Chicago and get all fan geeky on you and beg you to sign it.

5 heyLyss09 { 07.13.09 at 3:51 pm }

go you! and look how much you glow in front of your line of fans! =)

6 jill { 07.13.09 at 4:04 pm }

Loved watching the videos – wish I could have been there too! Many congrats! 🙂

7 Clio { 07.13.09 at 4:11 pm }

I really enjoyed your presentation. Thank you for posting the videos here. Congrats on the book and on winging your first booktalk!

8 astral { 07.13.09 at 4:26 pm }

You did very well!!!! I enjoyed the videos. I wish I could have been there. What a terrific experience. I'm so happy and proud!!

9 Queenie. . . { 07.13.09 at 5:41 pm }

Congrat's on a great first reading! I always like to have notes when I'm speaking in public, even if I never refer to them. It's such a security blanket for me. I can't even imagine your panic when you realized they weren't there!

10 loribeth { 07.13.09 at 5:48 pm }

Never would have guessed you were winging it! Thanks for sharing the video (& Josh for taping it). I so wish I could have been there, but this was the next best thing! : )

11 My Endo Journey { 07.13.09 at 7:06 pm }

I just bought your book and my husband is actually reading it right now!!!

12 Elizabeth { 07.13.09 at 7:50 pm }

well done! Very very cool.

13 eden { 07.13.09 at 10:15 pm }

Oh my word. You're so well spoken, and pretty, and funny!!! And a published author, wootaramo. I've asked a few book stores down here if they carry your book …. soon, one is going to say yes and I will take so many frickin' photos.

I loved hearing Josh laugh at your blank paper.


14 The Steadfast Warrior { 07.13.09 at 10:44 pm }

The videos won't show for me, probably due to not recently updating my computer,so I shall have to come back to enjoy this special occasion.

On a similar note, there were three lovely copies of your wonderful book on the shelf at one of my local Chapters bookstores here in Vancouver. I felt so proud and was thinking, "I know the author!" Well, 'know' in terms of blogging. You get what I mean, right? 😉 On behalf of my fellow Canucks, you rock lady!

15 Mrs. Gamgee { 07.13.09 at 11:01 pm }

How wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing the videos of your reading and the pictures! My Beloved peaked over my shoulder and asked who I was watching, because I was grinning like an idiot… and I was able to say "That's Mel. You know… MEL!"

16 Cassandra { 07.14.09 at 12:58 am }

I was going to suggest that Josh get a tripod (I'd recommend Gorillapod, personally) for future videos, but then I got to the part where the camera shakes because of his laughing, and I decided I like it better handheld.

Hooray for you!

17 sassy { 07.14.09 at 1:54 am }

I loved the videos – you are so poised & eloquent in front of a group!! (I think I would have been hiding under the podium, shaking uncontrollably…)

Beautiful job!

18 Bea { 07.14.09 at 6:49 am }

Congrats on your first event! Obviously you should lose the notes every time.


19 Jenn { 07.14.09 at 7:04 am }

Wonderful job Mel – I am so working on getting you to come visit Ohio to do a talk. Contacted our local Jewish Community Center already!

Can't wait to meet you and have you sign my book!

Send thanks to Josh for a great video job!

20 Ms. C { 07.14.09 at 7:31 am }

Amazing! Mazel tov!

21 loribeth { 07.14.09 at 7:46 am }

Steadfast Warrior reminded me, I was thrilled to see three copies of the book at the Indigo store at the Toronto Eaton Centre recently. I didn't have a camera with me but hope to head back soon to take a snap for your collection. ; )

22 areyoukiddingme { 07.14.09 at 7:51 am }

Great video – you looked totally comfortable!

23 Kristin { 07.14.09 at 11:52 am }

Wooohoooo….I think you look fab and the videos were great!

24 Sunny { 07.14.09 at 1:52 pm }

Congratulations on your first reading!!! And without notes, on top of it. A story that you will no doubt be retelling to aspiring authors in about 10 years, when you are super famous and hundreds of wanna-bes flock to your every reading to glean some of your brilliance.

Taking it too far? Sorry. 🙂

But how exciting anyway, and well done!

25 Cara { 07.14.09 at 4:34 pm }

Oh My….I'm all goosepimply. I wished I could have been there too. Of course, now I am going to use your experience as my visualization for the 'what i want my future to look like'!

You are my literary hero Mel.

Well done…notes or no.

26 paz { 07.14.09 at 7:51 pm }

watch out world, here comes mel!!! great job, I was so excited to be there and see it "Live from DC."

27 Lavender Luz { 07.14.09 at 9:50 pm }

I just spent a delicious 42 minutes with you.

What a rush it must be to have your very own book signing.

Please pass the cookies!

28 Vee { 07.15.09 at 2:18 am }

You look wonderful and did a great job. Congratulations !

29 Kim { 07.15.09 at 12:32 pm }

Wow! I'm so impressed and you winged it, too.
What a special event. So proud of you!

30 Melissa G { 07.16.09 at 12:09 pm }

I second Shelby's vote for a visit to the Bay Area. I just got my copy in the mail yesterday from amazon!

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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