Open Mic

A week ago I went to an open mic night at a local coffeeshop with a friend of mine. She sang along with a dozen or more other performers for about three hours, and I listened. The mic was open for poetry as well - or "spoken word," as it's apparently called now - but I didn't have anything with me, and I wasn't really in the mood to get up on stage.

Sometimes developing your creativity requires stepping back and listening. Setting aside the urge to be heard, and opening your own ears. This is why the most oft repeated rule for writers is "read more." Because you do not develop an ear or an eye for your own work if you do not exercise that same ear and eye with other people's works. 

I learned a few things last week. First, that it's a good thing to cheer loudly for everyone, whether they were any good or not. At the very least, you are cheering on their bravery. Second, that imitation really is an excellent starting point for any work (though it would be a pity if you stayed there). Third, that artists, though often shy, are strongest in community with one another. 


  1. This final point, about artists in community, is something I've been learning with ever greater ferocity lately. How do we find these artists, though? Maybe this is only a relevant question to those living in remote rural wastelands, as am I.

  2. I think it's a relevant question anywhere. There are online communities, of course, but they're not quite the same. You may have to be willing to drive a ways, or schedule it like you would vacation (maybe sign up for a Glen workshop or visit an Art House), or make artists out of the few neighbors you already have. Which could be interesting...


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