Reciting Poetry

In the few months I’ve been home, I’ve done several readings around the Pioneer Valley. It has been nerve racking and exhilarating to read my prose in front of an audience.

Last week, I chose to read some of my poetry at Spoken Word Greenfield. It was a completely different experience. Poetry, being so much personal than fiction, was much more difficult for me to get through. I felt vulnerable and exposed.

It was difficult, but it was a great experience, one in which I hope to build on in the future.

I would love to hear from other writers out there. Do you feel a difference when you read poetry versus prose at an open mic? Which do you prefer?

Here is one of the poems that I read:

AMHTHYST BROOK

Out in the woods I stand in the middle of a bridge

And I can’t tell which way the water is moving.

Like myself, coming and going

Moving perpetually in two directions.

I’ve seen enough roadkill to last a lifetime.

I don’t want to drive anymore.

I want to close my eyes next to you.

Be near me so I don’t have to think.

Be near me so I don’t’ have to know myself.

There is too much inside.

No matter where I go I find myself at a trailhead.

I walk fifty yards into the woods and then turn around

Because I fear its depth.

Like how I stand in the shallow end of my soul.

I don’t want to know how far down it goes

Or what lurky beasts hide in its midst.

It’s all mist down there.

Caution signs everywhere.

I told you to stay away

That at the end it would feel better.

But then, that’s a lie

Because I batted the fuck out of my eyelashes for you to come over.

What took you so long?

I’ve been watching the clock,

Not long until my moods swing.

Let’s hit the bathroom.

Oh it’s too nasty?

I like to play dirty.

So I guess it’s all my fault

I wind up with shards of glass in my skin

And dirt in my eyes.

I don’t want to stop.

Nothing feels better than pen scribbled on paper. 

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My First Public Reading!

Last night I decided to attend a reading in Northampton, Massachusetts. I found the blurb in a local paper. It said: Writers Night Out, hosted by a group called Straw Dog Writers Guild.

I went, expecting to listen and maybe meet some other like-minded people. However, when I got there, the woman running it said that it was open for anyone to read. I was unprepared, and told her I would sit out this first reading.

As I sat, sipped my beer and waited for the show to start I thought,” Why not? What do I possibly have to lose by doing this, except my dignity?” So I went out to the car, got my computer (I never go anywhere without it these days) and put my name in the hat.

I got picked to read second. I was nervous but also thrilled. These are the kind of experiences I need to be having, need to be getting comfortable with. The reading went well. My legs were shaking throughout the 5 minutes. But it felt great to do it.

Along with my other writing goals, my new goal is this: attend some kind of literary event every week. Even in our small Pioneer Valley, there are lots of amazing events. Even if I don’t get to read, just being in the audience, networking and being involved in a literary community will be very rewarding.

I didn’t get a picture of myself, but I promise next time I will.

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My camera is terrible!
Next time I’ll get a picture of myself.

If any other bloggers out there have favorite literary activities, suggestions or comments, I would love to hear from you!

Why I’ve Become Pro-Blogging

I decided several months ago that I wanted to start a blog. Why, you may be asking? Well, quite simply because every one I knew involved in writing told me I should.

If you want to get published you have to start a blog, they said. OK, I knew I wanted to get published one day, so then blog I would. But what for? I still wasn’t grasping the idea.

To network, to get your name out there, to show people are interested in your work. Great, so I start writing a couple times a week and soon I’ll have my name in neon lights somewhere in the blogging-sphere.

It’s been just under a month since I started and so far no neon lights or publishing offers thrown my way. And that’s alright, because the benefits I am seeing from this experience far outweigh what I ever anticipated.

Blogging is not something which comes naturally to me. The idea that whatever I post here may interest people seems quite brash. But then, the experience is more personal; I am writing this blog because it is important to ME. Maybe I have to be a bit selfish, because it has enabled me to learn a lot in a short time.

Here are some lessons:

Critique. I’ve become much more critical of my own writing. Learning tips from other seasoned writers has been extremely beneficial to how I view my own writing.

Patience. It will take time. I had this idea in the beginning that I would have one year to make it or break it. But now that seems silly. Writing is my passion and I’m willing to pursue it to the ends of time.

Encouragement. Writing in the past has been such a solitary pursuit. Here, I am able to share my frustrations and fears and receive helpful and thoughtful responses from my fellow bloggers.

Commitment. It’s only been one month, and I’ve made some modest progress, but I realize I have a long way to go. Having contact with other bloggers and writers who have reached the goals that I’m striving for makes me more committed than ever to pursue my dreams.

So thanks to all the people who have made this such a rewarding experience so far. And if this post can convince anyone who is on the fence about starting a blog, then I feel like I’ve done a good job.