Actually, it was even better than that – it was a short story slam, the slam bit meaning it involved getting on stage and reading your work as part of the final selection process.
It’s a raw thing, reading your work.
I got some practice when my writing group hosted a performance workshop. I went along curious as ever, albeit a teeny tiny bit cocky. After all, I’m an NLP trainer with loads of sessions under my belt, plus a heapload of corporate presentations. I should have this sussed, right?
WRONG, of course. As I quickly discovered, reading your own work makes you vulnerable in a way presenting training material and company philosophy doesn’t. It’s not you hiding behind someone or something, like a phobia cure or the rollout of a new pricing strategy.
It’s just you, up there, out there. Publicly reading what you have penned in the anonymity and comfort of your own home. It was an interesting experience to be on stage and for it to feel all new again, to watch myself hitting the same old rookie snafus.
One of the not-so-short stories I’d been running in my head at the end of last year was that I didn’t have any support, at home and at large. I was feeling lonely, unhappily buying into the ‘I have to do it all alone’ mantra.
In response, my cheerful mentor continuously suggested that instead I tell myself to
‘Let it be easy’ and ‘Let yourself be supported’
She has patiently repeated this so many times I am frankly surprised she hasn’t offered to personally etch it onto the back of my hand.
So I rocked up at this short story slam last Friday. I got on stage and I did my thing.
I didn’t win but it was an awesome evening nonetheless. Rob was there to film the event and friends came to support me. I had so many people excited that I get nominated, and rooting for me even though they couldn’t be there on the night.
I felt totally and utterly supported, and I loved loved loved every minute of preparing and getting up on that stage. My favourite moment was Rob pointing out that for probably the first time ever, he got to watch me do my thing while I got to watch him do his thing.
To my own surprise, the winning didn’t even matter. I just wholeheartedly loved the experience. As I pondered on it the next day, it occurred to me that at the moment, my cup is actually full.
I’ve been spending time with great friends, making new friends, doing what I love. I have the bestest daughter and the bestest dog. I am about to go on a beach holiday to spend quality time with my family and friends.
If all that night was for is to make me realize that I am indeed not alone and having to do it all, it’s been more than worth it.
Even better, the silver-haired writer who won traveled all the way up from Dorset with her husband supporting her. Just goes to show that even at 73, it’s never too late to get on that stage!
Click below if you wanna watch my 200 word take on the theme of discovery: