Last night I participated in an open mic before a friend’s poetry reading. Normally I hate open mics, but I knew some of the poets who would be reading, and I knew they would be good. There were the additional, yet standard, overwriters and overexplainers. The most boring of the poets read a poem written by someone else, which was great. (PSA: Never read four poems at an open mic.)
When I got up to read, the moderator asked me if I had ever read here before. I said no, and I got supportive applause. This enthusiastic reception is common for well-run, friendly open mics. I smiled, but did not look relieved or nervous as first-time readers often do. This was not the first time I had read in front of a crowd, and I knew the poem was ready because my critical-in-a-good-way Spouse had not found anything to cut.
Later one of the other readers came over to say she liked my poem. I told her I liked hers (and I did).
“Have you been writing a long time?” she asked.
I thought briefly back to my MFA, which I got in 2003, and said simply, “Yes.”
This morning I am tired and cranky. I want to be further along than I am. I want a book of poetry. I want to complain. But really the only answer to this crankitude is to sit my ass down in my chair and write. I’ve submitted my chapbook three places in as many weeks. I’m negotiating with an editor to read my memoir.
Get off the fucking Internet and write. Wait, it’s now “internet.” Whatever it is, go and write.