What do you do when your relatives decide to come to one of your readings? Bite the bullet, I guess: thank the lord they support you in your mad life's endeavour and hold no grudges about the way you've unfairly portrayed them, decide not to care about the clash between your carefully honed writer's persona and the real embarrassing you they could let slip in flash, and when the night comes shut your mind to the fact that they know precisely which bits of the piece you're reading are autobiographical, and can transmit this to the rest of the audience with their knowing, readier laughs.
My mum rings me: 'We're coming to the Sheffield Bitch-Lit reading.' Eek. 'But we've got this problem. We tried to book, but they told us because we're relatives we'd get complimentary tickets.'
They told them they were my relatives? (Like proud parents or something?!!)
'And they said you'd know all about it and would sort it out.'
Ohmigod. I know nothing. I want to know nothing... 'OK.'
I ring the festival box office, apologetic, foolish. 'Oh, that's fine!' they tell me. 'Yes, your mother and your sister: we've already put two comps aside!'
I feel just like when I was in the school play...