NB: Paper Cut Flophouse was a group blog that ran in the late aughts. Most posts were written by two contributors: me, using the pseudonym Roman Briton, and my friend Pompeston, the mastermind of the endeavor. This is a cross-posting of a post I originally wrote for PCFH; here’s a link to the original.
When I finished reading the last sentence of my story, I took my two pages, which I’d folded over two or three times to fit in my back pocket, and I smacked the lectern with the vertical crease, as if to indicate “the end,” or “I am done reading now.” I smacked on impulse, not thinking about it. It felt appropriate, although the gesture might have been so small as to not even be noticeable to the audience. I don’t know.
Immediately after, as I squatted next to the bar, my hands still shaking, I thought about Will Ferrell’s line from Old School: “That’s the way you do it! That’s the way you debate!” Maybe some variant on that, I thought, would be the best way to end a reading.
It could certainly be beneficial to writers facing the conundrum of having brought their serious material to a almost entirely humorous event.
Or it could turn the whole proceedings into something not unlike kabuki?
Which, in the world of readings, would not necessarily be a bad thing.