It began on Saturday, 14 September. I'd been invited to read in the Library of Lengnau at a cultural event between the villages of Lengnau and Büren called "Kulturnacht Region Lengnau Büren". They'd booked me for two readings of 30 minutes each. It was clear from the beginning that I'd be reading from "Mord in Switzerland". But I was told it would be lovely if I could also read and talk about another project. So I suggested integrating the anthology "Alois und Auguste – Geschichten über das Vergessen" (A&A) ("Alois and Auguste – Stories about Oblivion).
"A&A" had been initiated to celebrate the 10th anniversary of an Alzheimer's Clinic. At first, I read for five minutes, then talked about how "A&A" came into being and how I'd been ableto participate. Another short reading followed. 30 minutes might appear short for such a performance but as part of a whole cultural night, it was ideal. There was even time for a Q&A session.
Those readings were special for me for yet another reason. Because Lengnau is next to our village, I knew I should expect to see many familiar faces. On my way to the library, I already met three of my friends who announced they'd be coming to my session. Also, I was reading in front of my parents for the first time. My sister helped with selling books.
I'm always nervous before a reading but to know there'd be so many people in the audience I love and appreciate brought me close to panicking. That my friends assured me they'd come to carry me through didn't help much either. I reasoned it was a different matter if there was the possibility of making a fool of yourself in front of a bunch of strangers or in front of people who are close to you. During the first few sentences, I was certain the audience would be able to hear my heartbeat. But then the magic set in (or is it called adrenaline nowadays?) and I was able to sense the wave of support my friends had promised.
In the second part, I read from "Mord in Switzerland" (Murder in Switzerland). The support I received from the publisher "Appenzeller Verlag" was once more outstanding. They gave me a number of this poster for publicity free of charge.
A good many people came to that second reading. We had to get additional chairs. My parents stayed, this time supported by a couple of acquaintances. Even the boss I had during my apprenticeship, who I hadn't seen for years, came with her husband. And again stage fright struck! Yet this audience, too, was incredibly generous. Again I read for five minutes, talked about how the anthology had been realised, then shared a second excerpt from it. Perhaps it was due to the theme of the anthology that there were no questions at the end. However, the people in the audience went on to the next happening with smiles on their faces, and I'd survived once more. A complete success.
Lengnau will have to bear with me again soon. On 30 September and 07 October I'll be leading a workshop on writing crime stories for pupils as part of what we call "Ferienpass" (holiday passport: children can book various courses during their autumn holiday). I'm very much looking forward to it! Although I already know that stage fright will be jumping at me as soon as I get off the train.