Since arriving in San Miguel de Allende—in addition to catching up with friends and getting resettled—I prepared for a talk/reading.

I had planned to give the same reading I had given in Toronto in the spring, but realized that I really needed to revise it, make it current.

Of course this meant endless revisions and print-outs in addition to talking it out, timing it, and then, ultimately, practicing it in front of a mirror.

As a rule of thumb, I try to talk it through three times on the day of the event, the last one as close to the event as possible. Consequently, my voice was hoarse!

I like very much my new system of printing out the talk—every word, including the selections from the book—on 8.5 x 11 paper. I print it out in big, bold type that is easy to read, giving each sentence its own paragraph. I make sure to dog-ear the pages so that they are easy to turn. I use an elegant black binder to read from.

The talk went exceptionally well—so many people! The one thing I learned from it, however, is to make sure that the mike is working well for the audience. Some mikes you talk into—others you talk over. This was a talk-over kind, and sometimes—on a “t” sound, for example—I later learned that it spit the sound out at the audience. (I’ve seen one author who travels with her own mike, and I can understand why.)

The second reader of the evening—Barbara Levine, author of the amazing book Finding Frida Kahlo—had trouble with the low lighting. It was hard for her to see the text of her book. It occurred to me that a clip-on night-reader might be a handy thing to have on hand.

(Photo: the jardin at night in San Miguel de Allende. This is such a beautiful, vibrant and peaceful town, it pains me that visitors have been frightened away by the press north of the border.)