Blubbering while performing his memoir

At the dramatic reading of Jerry Perna’s semi-autobiographical “Seven Men from Now” in West Philadelphia’s Rotunda the other night, Jerry Perna started blubbering as he was telling a story about his father’s last night on earth. The reading was filled with emotion about the author’s frustration with his father, and the pathos of losing him. In the story, the son had found a twenty dollar bill on the street, and wanted to find the owner. His father said, “Don’t look too far. Just be grateful you found it.” Then his father died. And the performer cried. Since the performer was also the author, it was easy to understand that he was remembering the emotions of that moment. And throwing himself into the moment and feeling it. That’s an actor’s trick.

And it’s not a bad trick for a writer. If you can feel what you’re writing, while you write it, there’s a good chance the reader will also feel those emotions. Of course, it takes practice. Just as Perna had years of acting experience to draw from when he performed these lines, over time a writer will bring years of experience to translate the real emotions from heart to paper.

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