Normally, this would be the kind of post to put on my other blog. But as an open mic crowd is as much a part of the writing community as any, I feel this is the best way to make my sincerest apology to a performer that I walked out on.
I went to an open mic the other day. It was an open mic I have been to a few times. The last time, was to read a short story. Yesterday was for the same reason, but something was different.
First I called early in the day to make sure the open mic was still going. The last time I called, the woman who answered put my name on the list straight away. So when I called yesterday, I thought that would be the case again, but the guy who answered wouldn’t bother.
I showed up about half an hour before sign up. The cafe was mostly empty, and behind the counter, I heard the same guy swearing at someone on the phone. The atmosphere was immediately uncomfortable, but I tried to soldier on through, reading some book about animal totems and trying to mentally prepare for the event.
Then the crowd started filling in. This place usually has a pretty good crowd, with lots of regular performers reading their poetry. But I immediately felt a sense of isolation in this crowd.
Everyone seemed to know each other. The tiny space was filled with chatter, and all I could do was just smile when someone glanced my way. Usually in an open mic, there’s someone I can at least talk to. No one even approached me, because they were all together with their own friends. I’m not the sort who can just reach out to other people, because I never know how I will be received, so silence becomes my shield.
Then I saw that everyone had their sheets of poetry. The host for the night read from a book of poetry, the first performer was great, the second one was the same, and I realized that this crowd might not feel happy with me slowing down the speed of the first three readers by reading a short story.
I couldn’t do it, I had to leave and I didn’t even wait for the second performer to finish. It was the worst thing I could ever do to another performer, and if he reads this, I hope he knows that I am sincerely sorry if I gave him the wrong impression, or if he feels insulted by my actions.