Are you one of the many people who fear public speaking? Imagine how much scarier public speaking would be if you were reading something as personal as a self-authored piece of literature.
Austin’s Owen Egerton has a safe and supportive event where people can do just that, and it’s called One Page Salon.
It Started in a Living Room
The concept of One Page Salon started several years ago when Owen Egerton and his wife wanted to hang out with fellow creative types, drink wine and share ideas. Egerton, a lifelong writer, was fascinated by the flow of thought and creativity at these hangouts and wanted to foster an environment where a wide range of people could express their ideas publicly and get feedback. In the summer of 2013, Egerton launched One Page Salon.
Egerton needed a home for One Page Salon. Fortunately, he had to look no further than his favorite writing spot, Whip In. Owner Dipak Topiwala has been a long time supporter of Owen Egerton and his writing. Egerton filled me in about Topiwala, “When I had my novel, Everyone Says That at the End of the World, Dipak came to me and suggested we have a launch party at the Whip In. So we did, and he surprised me with a new beer they brewed called, Everyone Drinks That at the End of the World.” The beer name has since been changed to Bitterama and has won multiple awards.
Calling The North Door Home
Eventually, the event outgrew Whip In and moved to The North Door. Every first Tuesday of the month, Austinites gather around to hear writers and authors read one page of a project they’re working on. The projects vary in style and type. Prose, poetry, plays, novels, short stories, screen plays, anything involving the written word is permissible.
As I said before, public speaking can be scary to some folks and publicly reading a personal work can be nightmarish. So Egerton is emphatic about reminding the audience that what they’re hearing is one page from a work in progress.
I took the opportunity to check out the first One Page Salon of 2015. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Was there going to be a line of people waiting to read their one page? Would there be hecklers in the crowd?
As it turns out, the event is well organized and runs smoothly. The list of performers is comprised of six people. Five are invited, and the sixth is a raffle winner (attendees who want to read put their name in a raffle for a chance to read at the next show).
When Egerton took the mic, the place went silent as the standing room only crowd turned their attention to the stage. After a brief monologue declaring 2015 the year of bad writing, as he read some ill-fated opening sentences and paragraphs of stories and novels, Egerton got the ball rolling. December’s raffle winner, Cory Chandler, shared his one page first. The night culminated in headliner and Go-Go’s veteran Kathy Valentine reading a page from her upcoming memoir.
The crowd was encouraging. Not only of the readers, but each other. I saw a couple of friends I hadn’t seen in a while and we talked about our current projects. I met new folks like local writer Jason Neulander, who happily shared his writing background and spoke about his current project as well. The overall vibe at One Page Salon was overwhelmingly supportive. It was a rejuvenating experience for me, and encouraged me to finish up that one short story I started three years ago.
I’ll be returning next month and hope to see you there. Maybe one day, I’ll be on stage.
One Page Salon is a free event on the first Tuesday of every month. Owen Egerton has been a staple in the comedy and literary scene in Austin for a long time. He teaches, writes and occasionally performs with Master Pancake Theater. Find out more about Egerton and upcoming events on his website.
@ElDavidThomas wants to know:
Are you afraid of public speaking?