180 degrees in 1 minute

Last Saturday, I had the most bizarre and, after the book presentation in Vienna, the most fantastic book reading ever. I have been invited to read from “From Barrie to Vibrator” on the book fair in Wiener Neustadt, a small city 40km south of Vienna.

Two surprises were waiting for me there: first, Wiener Neustadt is an surprisingly pretty old city. Second, I was supposed to read after Annemarie Moser, a lady who is from Wr. Neustadt and still lives there. So basically, the audience was her audience. And here audience is from Wr.Neustadt and is between 75-85 years old. From Barbie to WHAT???

She read her stories for 45 minutes. Her stories are about elderly or sick people. Beautiful, but heavy and depressing. I was panicking. I changed the stories I was going to read for three times. I thought nothing can save this hopeless situation. I even considered disappearing. And to make things worse, there was a break between our readings. So I expected the audience to become either incurably depressed or to leave during the break.

They didn’t. Neither. Nor.

I started reading, scared like shit. And the faces of those grey-haired people immediately started lighting up. After one minute they were glowing like a bunch of little suns. After two minutes they were cracking of laughter. And they couldn’t stop laughing. I have never had such attentive, good-humored audience. They kept on laughing, listening carefully and applauding for 45 minutes. And then they asked for more! So I read one more story.

The first gentleman came to have his book signed as I was still sitting on the stage. And a whole bunch of people was already waiting at the books table for me to sign. They all wanted to meet me and talk to me. I haven’t felt so welcome and so admired since the book presentation in June.

It was just amazing how a situation can turn 180 degrees within one single minute. You can never, ever know how it might end.

Or was it all Frau Moser? I already considered asking her if we could always read together. So she can depress the people and then they can't help but adore me for lifting them up….

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