It seems as though every time I take a car off campus and try to go somewhere new I manage to get lost, either that or I don’t turn the ignition switch far enough forward and the car won’t start. I don’t know why this is. I think it’s the same instincts that made me try pruning holly with a can opener one holiday season (they both had metal tops and gray bottoms). It took a long time but I eventually managed to get all the holly we needed to decorate. It was the same tonight, it took a while but I eventually got to my destination: open mic night at B-Sharp Café.
One of the literary magazines I submit to, Creative Colloquy, was kind enough to invite me to perform at their open mic night. I was nervous, and not just about whether or not I would accidentally wind up in Timbuctoo. I hadn’t spoken to anyone there yet; I was Facebook friends with a couple of the founders but that doesn’t entail actually talking. You don’t have to make eye contact on Facebook.
It turns out I had nothing to worry about. It was my first night so everyone was very encouraging. One of the hosts agreed to take a picture of me performing for my parents. Parents want pictures of things like this; it’s in their DNA. There was one awkward moment when another host thought I had been running away when I went back to my car to get my poems. I was nervous but I wasn’t that nervous. I smiled through it. In situations like this it’s best to just smile, like the Madagascar penguins: “Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.”
In my case it was more like smile and blush but it all worked out just fine. I read my poems, remembered to look up at the audience, and sat down to a nice round of applause. One kind woman patted me on the shoulder as I left and told me I did I good job. I didn’t know her; she was just being nice. It was a random act of niceness.
The other authors had some really good stuff as well. One guy had a really funny piece about the zombie apocalypse. The first woman who went wrote a really sweet story about a mother and her elementary school son. They’re a talented bunch. It would be good to go back sometime; I just have to find it again.