Total Health Foods has added a poetry reading night to their calendar. It’s held every other Thursday from 8 to 10 pm in-between the store and the juice bar.
It is not unusual for me to be in my Pj’s and curled up on the sofa by that time, but after several months of seeing flyers and receiving emails for this event, it had ignited my curiosity.
I thought it would be interesting to go and listen sometime, maybe meet some local writers. Only after much contemplation and yawning I decided to forego the jammies last Thursday evening, and am thrilled I did.
My husband scared me a bit talking the beatniks of the late fifties, sixties and seventies and their loud colorful ways of poetic expression . . . but I thought, what the heck, quit wondering and check it out.
I don’t consider myself a poet, although I thoroughly enjoy writing poems along with reading poetry books. I have written several that have mostly written themselves. They did not give me a choice. Two of them woke me in the middle of night. I chose two of these poems to take to the reading, even though I had no intention of sharing them.
My thinking was to go, sit in the back, and listen for a while, and if I felt uncomfortable I would sneak out early. Little did I know that I would be the first one there and almost the last one to leave.
There were a few surprises in-store for me.
My first surprise was that I was the only woman there until almost the end. Bridgette, the person who usually leads the group, was out-of-town and had asked Chico to sub for her. He was happy to do so and was a perfect choice with his outgoing, friendly personality making everyone feel welcome and comfortable.
My second surprise was after I introduced myself, Chico asked what kind of poetry I liked to write. Of course that discussion led to my writing for Family, Fish and Game and how I loved to write about the outdoors. He asked if I hunted or fished which led him to say with excited recollection, “I don’t fish much anymore, but me and some buddies used to go to this amazing place up north. We caught tons of fish.”
“Where?” I asked.
You already know the answer, right? My beloved Fletcher’s Pond.
Once again, there was my sign. I knew I was in the right place at the right time and was meant to meet these people. I told him he may enjoy my novel, HOLLER’S POND when it’s published. The middle grade story actually takes place at Fletcher’s Pond. By this time several more people had arrived and when we were all introduced, the readings began.
I loved that it was a small group and so laid-back, no pressure to read or share. This was the perfect poetry reading night for me, the first timer. They encourage people to bring a poetry book from home if you want to share your favorite poems.
I felt more than welcome to sit and listen to Chico read his prose about growing up by Tiger Stadium, all the sounds, scents, lights, and a little boys imagination. Then Frank read about the Sun and the Moon and the human connections. Sam and I listened, completely enthralled. When Chico asked if I wanted a turn, I shook my head but felt myself stand and move toward the podium.
I read my poems. LONG TERM GOAL and WHAT WILL I BE, both about growing up, one from a parents perspective and the other from an insect nymphs. Both received unexpected applause and curious questions. It was fun to talk about the inspirations for my writing.
I’m already looking forward to Thursday, April 17 for the Poetry Night and for my favorite treat from the juice bar. (A Mudslide. It tastes like a chocolate shake and is made with all natural non-dairy ingredients.)
I may even write a new poem by then and someday attend a more aggressive reading. I recently heard about a Poetry Slam, not far from where I live. Hmmm!
Sure wish my poetry-writing cousin Jeanna lived closer. We could get “our brave on” together.