The number one reason I don’t go to open mic events as much as I should is the driving distance from Durham. The First Tuesday @ Open Eye is in Carrboro about 30 minutes west of Durham and the First Thursday @ the Royal Bean is 30 minutes in Raleigh–the opposite direction. The Second Thursday @ Flyleaf Books conflicts with my monthly board meetings for Triangle Tango (not that I attended regularly before). And then there’s the Third Thursday @ Lazy Lion Books in Fuquay Varina. I don’t even know how far that is from Durham. Plus, the event starts at 5 PM, which is really early for this double-life poet. I have gone to Amplified Voices @ Amplified Art in downtown Raleigh thrice this year, though not in consecutive months and not without crashing at with a friend who lives nearby.
You see, I work in downtown Raleigh and the last thing I want to do is stay close to work any longer than necessary. After the 40-minute commute on Triangle Transit I want to get home and relax a bit and not have to rush to figure out poems, what to wear, and what to eat on the way. But sometimes I do find the energy to go to open mics. It helps if there is friend visiting from Turkey who wants to hear some poetry. It helps if the open mic happens during or after the April Poem-A-Day challenge so there is a critical mass of poems to read.
Once I’m there I’m always happy to see my poet-friends, hear about their lives and what they’ve been writing. I’m always blown away by the person who musters the courage to read for the first time. I’m always grateful for the opportunity to step in front of the microphone and share a sliver of myself, to connect with others who have chosen this lifelong apprenticeship. Writing can be lonely and frustrating, but it feels good to know I am not the only one out there struggling to find the words to express everything I’ve held inside.