The space could use some better noise insulation, considering the shouting and clapping and theatrics from the room next door’s Nerd Nite kept threatening to drown out the poems and stories being told on stage in the room I was in, but overall, it’s a decent space.
Though I could be biased because it was also the space in which I read a fictional story to strangers for the first time last night.
And it was also where my friends, who were extremely judgmental of the other readers, told me my piece was great and that they thought so even aside from the fact that they know me. I mean, I highly doubt they would have told me if it were bad; these are humans who care about me we’re talking about here. But still, I believed them.
It’s hard, as a writer, to say anything negative about other writers because we’re all in the same boat, struggling to make our voices not only heard but felt. We all just want to connect with people through our words and it’s a scary thing to stand in front of strangers and try to do that. We don’t feel good saying any writer is less than beautiful.
Which is fine because while listening to the other readers last night, I realized we never need to say it. Doing amateur readings isn’t necessarily about whether the writing is moving or above a sixth grade writing competence. It’s about taking a risk, putting yourself under a spotlight, and making yourself do something you may not be comfortable doing. It’s exposing your writing to tough critics–the general public–and feeling okay about it.
We all spoke our hearts and in case you’ve never done it, I will tell you: it takes a strong person to do so.
So although I do feel relieved my piece went over well with, judging by the audience’s reaction, both strangers and friends, the more important aspect is simply that I read it in the first place.
Adoring fans are secondary.