An hour after hearing my stepmother,Ruth Krause, had died, it was my turn to read on the roof of the public library. As I approached, I saw Emma Hughes reading from Perelandra by C.S. Lewis. I sat next to her grandfather, leaned over to him and asked, "Was she ever an actress?" He replied, "I'm a bit of an actor myself and taught her many things when she was younger." She came to one passage where a character shouts out "I am the universe!" She shouted it out with such conviction! It had to be a liberating moment. Sultana said to me that she had almost cried several times as she was reading "The Alchemist" since it moved her so deeply. I started thinking to myself that I just might start crying if I try and read now. I decided I would not let that happen.
I wasn't feeling motivated to give a dramatic read of the book I had bought, "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand. My growing nervousness was also fueled as a Facebook event page had been created inviting artists to come out and sketch me while I read. Nine people had confirmed that they would come out and I was thinking to myself that they might have an opportunity to watch me break down. I noticed several homeless people listening to Emma's reading and I started to consider that any one of them might be willing to read the book for me if I offered a reasonable salary. Finally, at the last moment, I convinced the sound man, Tommy Wingo, to read for me. Just as in Cyrano de Bergerac, I went out to the readers chair overlooking the street and sat down, while Tommy set up a mic at the back of the roof where he could not be seen and began to read. At first I think I did a decent job lip syncing to what he read. People walking past really didn't notice, but the artists gathered in the street soon knew what was up and they all laughed. Lip syncing actually dries out your mouth rather fast, so I took a sip of water while Tommy was reading behind me and he didn't skip a beat.
Seated on the sidewalk below, three artists were sketching: Amanda Chadwick, who was the culprit behind the "Sketch the Sketcher" event page, A.J. Martin, who is Amanda's boyfriend, and Sultana Fatima Ali who returned for the occasion. Sultana had informed me that she read "The Fountainhead" on her trip through the Himalayas. Her sketch was curious in that the banners blew in the opposite direction compared to the other artists sketches. Dan Ginader had also stopped by with his wife and daughter Jozie. Emma Hughes and Keyvan Acosta were there knitting. Since I wasn't reading, I could do what came naturally, and I started to sketch the view from the readers seat. My lips moved constantly as I blocked in the sketch. I knew I only had an hour so I rushed to get it finished. Jessica Mariko walked by and laughed out loud when she saw how far off my lip syncing was. I waved and forgot about moving my lips for a moment. It was so nice to be able to laugh. Soon there would be expectations of entirely different forms of expression.