I did a talk at Vermont South library this week. It’s five years now that I’ve been giving these talks, and to be honest each time it feels a little more like shrugging on a cloak made of the past, suffocating and too-well-worn. I think: My god, do I really want to still talk about this? I am always weirdly exhausted just before I do a talk.

But then I face an audience and they are looking at me and expecting me to say something, and begad, it turns out I have things to say. I’ll never get past the feeling of creepy narcissism (and amazement) that all these people are sitting there quietly for an hour just to listen to me talk about my life. It feels so one-sided! But I have a story, and I tell it. And I always, always, get wonderful questions and a feeling that people have been listening attentively and quite often there are people in the audience who can relate better than most to my experiences–either as themselves or as relatives of an addict or sex worker–and if they come up to chat afterwards it is the most incredible feeling, that something that lives inside me (my memories) has touched the life of someone else. I almost expect to hear it sizzle, like an electrical current.

These talks are such a gift to me, really. Every time I do one I leave feeling more energised than when I went in. I wonder if I’ll be doing many more after THE ROMANTIC comes out.

But this post is all really to say: a very nice couple sprang up as I finished the talk, and handed me a gift in red tissuepaper, and it was some stockings. Gifty people, if you read this, let me know so I can thank you?

Truly, when a writer steps out her door, quite nice things happen.

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