Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Abashed at First…

August 27, 2013

Abashed – definition: ashamed or embarrassed


Does this describe your experience when you first shared your words? I have a clear memory of reading my very first piece to my writers circle just over four years ago. My hands were clammy and shaking and I was the color of beetroot, as a flush of nervousness took over. Prior to reading this piece I had attended a couple of meetings and just listened to everyone else. The more I thought about reading the more anxious I became but knew I would not grow as a writer if I kept my writing a secret.

To that end I used an online writing prompt – write a five minute piece using – fire, clock, certainty. This was the result.

Fire light flickered on the walls and ceiling as Joan sat with a glass of her favorite red wine. Watching the flames lick the logs and send little sprays of ash and sparks upward, she tried to calm her mind. It was a certainty that Thomas would be angry with her once he knew of her accident. The clock ticked as its hands made their gradual path towards 9 o’clock and the inevitable argument.

Joan had tried to cover up the dented fender with a casually placed cloth but Thomas would immediately know something was wrong as she had parked in his place in the garage. Such a creature of habit, her husband he had rules and very particular likes and dislikes. His routine had to be strictly adhered to or there was hell to pay. She knew he would go over the top with his recriminations and probably ban her from driving for months.
The clock struck nine and she heard the garage door open as Thomas drove up to it. Straining her ears she heard his car drive forward and then shriek to a halt. His place was taken up by her car now he would be mad. A slam of the driver’s door told her he was walking through to the kitchen and she could feel his presence enter the lounge.
She squeezed the trigger slowly as the instructor had told her and Thomas’ face flew apart. No more shouting, no more rules, no more living in fear. Watching Thomas’ foot twitch as the life left him gave her a rare feeling of joy. No more tormentor.
Once I had struggled through reading it, I kept my head down waiting for a response – I’m glad to say everyone was shocked by the ending but also congratulated me on a great piece. From that moment on I was catapulted into the writing life.
Care to share an embarrassing moment with us? It can be writing related or not. Did the outcome have a positive affect?
If we are to promote ourselves and our words, reading them to an audience is something we all have to face at one point or another. Being able to practice with friends makes the transition slightly easier, I feel.
What was your first public reading like?
Blog at