Open-mic night always puts me at peace. Even last month, when it seemed the whole scene had been stolen away by prepubescents who were too young for ninety percent of my work, even then I felt good when I was there reading. It wasn’t until afterward that I felt bad, felt that sense of panic that I might lose my only forum. The discovery of Crescent Dragon’s monthly Stop For A Story event a few months ago has been the most welcome of developments in an otherwise frustrating writing life.
Tonight there was Andi, who had hosted the first event I went to. She regaled us with an imagined version of her own obituary, among other stories. There was Marilyn, a woman old enough to be my grandmother, who read narrative poetry telling stories of her own grandmother and a cutting board passed down through the generations. There was another gentleman, who told a story from the book he’s working on, a book that recounts his days working as a bartender at a jazz bar.
Then there was me, reading “Ezekiel and the Harvesters,” my infamous story about an Amish rock & roll band.
It was a grand night that put me at ease with a stressful day. As the reality of my impending vacation set in on the folks at work, there was suddenly a slew of things to be done before tomorrow afternoon. My pulse quickened, my chest hurt, and the case of the runs I’d been keeping at bay most of the day reared it’s ugly head.
Thank god for open-mic night.