This thing is most certainly turned on, so I won’t bore you all while I embarrassingly ramble and test the volume. I know enough about sound and the music industry such that I have eliminated any chance of feedback. My voice, and yes, there is a touch of a British accent, please hold all questions to the end, is as clear as it can be on this humid afternoon. It’s funny: I’m talking into something that’s supposed to amplify the sound of my words, yet it seems ironic to me that recording this introduction just turns it into another digital jumble of ones and zeros – something utterly intangible and more noise.

So, here I am. I’m not the greatest storyteller and I know that my fiction, well, sucks balls. Yes, I did warn you about profanity, madam, so please, either cover your ears or – yes, you’ve found the exit. Well done. Have a great evening, Anyway. I can’t write fiction to save my life. I write what I know. I write as I speak, for better or for worse. I’m badass with description and unconventional in getting you, my fair audience, from prose point A to prose point B. The point is, I take you on a journey. And I tell things as I see them.

Being that I’ve been fascinated with life, the human experience and perception recently, I know the way I see the world isn’t like anyone else does. Ever. I think this is both beautiful and heartbreaking. It means none of us are really understood, at all, and none of us ever know if what we see is truly real. Now, before you all run off and drown your existential sorrows at the bar, it occurred to me: this is why we need writers. We need writers to tell the way they see the world, so others can relate. We need writers to imagine new worlds, because sometimes this one is just too terrible to wholly inhabit. We need writers to remember for us, report events, describe activities, see the world and render it in language because so few of us can with any kind of impact. I’m not saying that my writing has impact, but I’m saying that I have a gift and I can use words for good. I’ll never be a winning speechwriter, but I will self publish a book.

The best people in life taught me to understand, respect and use words. I like to think that it’s their “fault”  – yes, with air quotes – that I discovered I had the ability to tell stories and communicate – well. Had it not been for my parents, my crazy English teachers, my film professor and two very dear editors, I wouldn’t have taken risks, thrown my words out there, incorporated them into – for better or worse – my identity.

No, I’m not going to cry, but thank you for the tissue. Before I move on to the more interesting stories, the ones I tell and find on a daily basis, I suppose I should let you know what to expect from me, why I’m talking to you here today. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from some strong and incredible men and women, it’s that when the world tells you, “fuck no,” you have to find a way to say “fuck yes.” It’s not as you expected, at least for me, being the token non-conformist, but you get where you need to be. And so, that’s what I’m doing here. I’m telling my stories as I see them. I’m describing what I love, hate, see, learn and feel. And I’m putting some of that shit down in a book, in the hopes that one of you fine, fine people might decide to read it one day. Will it be perfect? No. But will it make me whole? Yes.

Because I read something once, and I’m paraphrasing, so forgive me. I read something like, “The world needs people who feel fulfilled, so go out there and find whatever it is that fills you up. And do it.” This, friends, readers and countrymen, is what fills me up. So, here we go.

Thank you, and yes, you’ll find the reception at the back of the room. Yes, there’s wine and cheese, and yes, I’ll be available to chat. Take care and, as always, keep writing and reading.

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