So the other night I went to a reading event at my college. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the fact that I never do these things.
I’ve always had a problem with being up on stage, for some reason. I will write my ass off and come prepared with something I read, but I find that makes me more nervous. In high school, we often had to bring Powerpoint presentations to classes and present things. Every time I had a script and plot as to what I was presenting, I got anxiety.
This still happens these days, even, and it’s annoying as hell. I can put full force behind something and still end up with my hands shaking, and I don’t know why that is. Like I said, I can write my ass off. And if I came unprepared to a stage, I can improve like the best of them.
Yet the other night, I went to this literary thing. It was ran by a student club called the Ink Slingers, and I had previously regarded it as a friend group with a budget. The previous leader had ran it that way, with not much substance and not really my crowd. I’m weird, but I’m a different brand of weird and I’m prideful of it!
So I took my friend to this thing so I would feel more in my element. When we showed up, attendance was sparse. Something like 7 readers, with an audience that totaled 11 people. If I didn’t know any better, I’d call it a failure, but I do know better. They had a stage set up, a sound system, ample seating, an arrangement of snacks, and it was great. It was an awesome proof of concept, and I’m glad I got to see it.
When my turn came to read, I read “Suicide Note, [a poem with the working title Slam, Bitch, Slam]” and “Symbolic Something”. Slam, Bitch, Slam was definitely the best one out of those. It was long, but I intended it to be deep and passionate and angsty as hell, and it presented well outside of a few bad marks I’d give myself. I seemed to keep everyone’s attention, so for that I was happy.
(I’ve got recordings of these, but I haven’t gotten them all together yet. I’ll post them soon, hopefully.)
Went into a reading okay, made it out alive, and a few more people heard my work. Not bad. Hopefully I can shake some of that anxiety in the future and go to larger and larger events. First notch on my belt.
My problem is that I don’t write a lot of poetry with the intent to ever say it out loud. I write a lot of story poetry, or Storetry, So when high time comes for me to choose what to deliver out loud, I am hard pressed to find anything I would consider good. Most of it would probably be better set to music, as lyrics. Hardly do I write something that is slammable. It’s something I really want to do, especially after seeing Anthony McPhearson slam here at Pierce.
But my testing in the waters went well, and I’m less full of anxiety about going to another one. So that was the other night.