Thin Air not a problem – I was holding my breath anyway!

This week I got to add something to my list of First Time Ever Experiences.

I attended, not one, and not two, but three book readings!

Have you ever been to one? To be honest, I thought they sounded terribly dull. Having an author – who was probably a bit of an antisocial crazy person due to their constant practice of locking the world out to write for days on end – come in and read part of the work that resulted from that crazy antisocial behaviour actually sounded more like a punishment than a privilege.

I admit that my enthusiasm increased with last week’s seminar speakers Charlene Diehl and Amanda Hope. These two ladies were so pumped about the upcoming Thin Air festival that it was hard not to feel a little excited. At the very least, my curiosity was piqued.

Then this week rolled around.

On Tuesday we met Lynn Coady. She recently finished her novel The Antagonist so we got to hear a couple of sections from it.


I actually legitimately forgot that I wasn’t reading a story myself, my imagination got so involved. I was so entranced in her words and the story that I was startled when she finished and thanked the audience.

She was gracious enough to answer some questions about various challenges that writers face, from the inspiration that becomes an idea to dealing with writer’s block.

It was definitely a good experience to hear about an experienced and published author’s experiences. For all of us young budding writers, she definitely provided some encouragement!

Thursday we were introduced to a different type of reading when Glen Downie read some of his poems from Local News.

This was a different experience for me. I do write poetry on occasion (when inspiration strikes or I am assigned a poem as a school assignment), but it is a rare occasion, and I never read poetry. This is not to say that I don’t like it, but it’ generally not the first thing that I gravitate toward.

I can’t say that I fell in love with poetry at this reading.

But I will say that I developed a little more appreciation for it. I wouldn’t have enjoyed his book as much if I was just reading it, I’m sure. But hearing the pace of his words caused me to experience the work as he had intended it. Because of this, I did enjoy his last poem in particular. It was a long (but not winded), vivid rant about people who come door-to-door selling or asking for something.

I suspect that I had a different perspective on this event than that of some people at this event. Meeting these authors was not something I’d waited a long time for. Nor had I read their work and therefore held them in some esteemed place in my mind. I wouldn’t have known these authors if I passed them on the street – not even if they told me who they were while I was passing them.

This perspective allowed me to be open-minded about the writers’ work. I was allowed to think it was bad, should that be the opinion that overtook me. I appreciated this freedom, and still really enjoyed the work that they presented.

All in all, my experience of Thin Air was a positive one. Maybe in one of the years coming I’ll purchase the pass so I can get a taste of all the festival has to offer. This year time (or rather the lack of it) prevents me from doing so, but this door is not closed.

There may be some more thoughts about this to come.

Have you ever been to a writer’s festival? If you’re in Winnipeg, have you been to Thin Air? You can check out their website (the link was also at the beginning of this post) or their blog for more info if you feel so inclined.

Thanks for joining me, and happy reading!



About Jenna Marie

Jenna is a communications student from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She's almost finished studying at Red River College and looking forward to whatever's coming next.
This entry was posted in School Assignments, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Thin Air not a problem – I was holding my breath anyway!

  1. Book readings can really run the gamut. Among the best at the craft are David Sedaris and David Rakoff, who treat it as a hybrid of reading, punk rock, and stand-up comedy. Can the book-reading mosh pit be far behind?

    As entertainment becomes more about “the event” than “the art,” I believe we’ll see more writers embrace the performance as part of the work.

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