Downstairs at Cornelia Street Cafe

Cornelia Street Cafe readings

A writers’ organization I belong to, The Writers Room, hosts readings by its members on the downstairs stage in the Cornelia Street Cafe every third Tuesday each month. I’ve always been so scared to read my work, I guess just because I feel silly reading my own words aloud to an actual audience — I was even hesitant in class once, to the befuddlement of my teacher… But this year I decided just to bite the bullet, and signed up to read from my novel. My reading’s not until June — I scheduled myself that late partly because that month’s theme, “Our (Fore)fathers: (Dis)respecting,” is the closest fit with what my excerpt is about, and partly to give myself plenty of time to freak out! So, I figured I’d go every month until then to see what the atmosphere is like, how the readers actually read (of course I’ve gone to umpteenth readings before, but always got so absorbed in the content I never thought to watch closely how the writer actually went about giving an entertaining read), and to support my fellow writers so they will in turn support me 🙂 Tonight’s theme was on the holidays, and the readers were novelist Eric Zeisler, novelist and screenwriter David Evanier, and this very witty fun poet, Rachel Rawlings. The event was hosted by Stan Richardson, who is on the mike in the above pic. Of course each reader he introduced tonight had a list of writing accomplishments pages long — the first guy I think had won about five major awards and had attended several really prestigious writer programs and retreats, the second co-wrote a bunch of screenplays with super famous people and had about 10 books published … Oooh, what’s Stan gonna say for me??? “Ladies and gentlemen, Tonya Plank, a total wannabe with absolutely nothing published!” (I’ve been told law review articles don’t count in the publishing world). No, seriously, Stan was, fortunately, a very funny guy, who cracked a lot of jokes — after Eric read, interrupted several times by the heat cranking on, Stan proposed we give a round of applause to the plumbing system which was apparently needy for some recognition. I think (hope) he can lighten the situation, calm my nerves at least a bit, and hopefully come up with something goofy to say in my intro that will make people more sympathetic toward me than ridiculing, please please 🙂

I’ll definitely be posting hysterically about this more as the time approaches, but until then, WR readings are every third Tuesday of the month, and I have them all posted under My Upcoming Events, on the right-hand section of the blog!


  1. Hi Tonya, this is Dea, from the Winger. I finally came back to the virtual world. I had been making arrangements for my trip (and my wedding ;-)!) all this month and it’s been crazy! I finally graduated too, and I expect to move there by the begining of Feb. (I’ll live in Jersey City). Good to know about your writing news, you’re so funny! In June I’ll be there already, so if I can attend this reading I’ll certainly be there to support you. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the other member’s achievments, they all started somewhere, didn’t they? 😉
    I haven’t been much around the winger board anymore cause they don’t let me comment anymore, they always sign me off when I try to do it, it’s such a hassle….but I finally caught up with the posts in the main website. hehehe
    I just set up a blog to talk about my trip (right now I’m really anxious for my visa interview, which is in five days), and I linked your blog there, I hope it’s ok.

  2. Hi Dea! I saw your site! I read that first, before reading your comment to me, so I didn’t understand a lot of the blog (I really have to learn Portuguese someday!), but congratulations on wedding and graduation and everything!!!! And thanks so much for putting me on your blogroll! I’m sure your visa interview will go well! You’re getting married there, in Sao Paulo, right? Are you going to put up pictures of the wedding on your blog? I can’t wait to meet up with you here 🙂

  3. Thanks! 🙂 Actually, I´m getting married there first ! We´re planning it for between April and May, but we didn´t set a date yet. Then at some point in the 2nd sem. of next year we´ll come back here to do a celebration for my family and friends. So, you don´t have to wait for the pics, you´re probably gonna attend it live if u can! 😉 hehehe
    If you don´t mind me asking, do you live in Manhattan? In which neighbourhood? Just curious…Only recently I´ve figured out some of NY/NJ´s geographics. hehehe
    I just read your post about the modern performance you went to, it sounded so interesting! And your description of your talk with the teacher was hilarious! I kindda have this dancer alter ego myself, people here at my job are always joking about it. I laugh along, what can I do? hehehe
    See ya!

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