I went to an open mic salon at the Writers Place on Monday night. It was my first time reading anything in front of people in over ten years, I was feeling Tin Man rusty, and I didn’t know what to expect at the open mic, so I was just a wee bit nervous. My dear friend Charlotte went with me for both moral support and to make sure I didn’t chicken out and not read anything.
The event was very very casual. There were at most ten people there, all sitting in a circle on comfortable chairs and love seats. We went around the circle, reading one or two poems or short fiction at a time. I was a little uncertain about how my work would be received when the host, a poet of many, many years (EDIT: Sharon Eiker is her name), began by ranting about poets who write pieces “without any thought or meaning,” complaining that “it’s just word salad.” Gee, I usually think of my work as pretty word salad-y. Is she going to hate my stuff? But everyone, including her, was very supportive and responsive. I read “For Hermes Still My Friend,” “The Art of Aching,” “Memories of Irresistible Toys,” and “Eye of Orion.” After the last one, everyone clapped, and the host said appreciatively, “Wow! You’re dangerous!”…which made me feel far more badass than I’ve felt in quite a while.
When I got home, I was jazzed and wired, feeling much more confident about not just my writing but my reading of it. I’m ready and eager to attend more open mics and other public events, to build my performing chops, to put myself out there.