Fifteen years old and delivering my first public reading assignment to a class of health students in Waco, Texas was nerve-wracking and exhilarating. Knees buckled as I held on to the teacher’s podium and tried to calm my quavering voice. “Hello, my name is Claudia.” I paused for effect. Then, “Hello?” Pause. “I said, ‘hello’.” Finally, a room full of disinterested, unfocused teens came to life realizing they were asked to participate, to acknowledge the girl from the orphanage standing in front of them. Like a band director, I waived my arms and in unison, for just this one time, they spoke to me with a resounding, “Hello.”
I finished my speech, “I hate snobs.”
Reading no further, I handed my one page paper to the teacher and sat down. No, I was not going to tell them more about me, about why I was in an orphanage, what it was like to live behind a gilded cage, or what demons possessed my black heart. Screw them.
Until now. If they want to know me they can buy my novel, In the Absence of God. I pour my dark soul between pages of fiction and reality, for them to figure out which is which. Now I tell all and my knees are not buckling.
Novel coming soon,