I am the head organizer and also a performer in a show happening tonight at our local Roxy Theater called Word of Mouth. This is our 2nd annual show and tickets sold out 2 days ago. WOM brings together spoken word, storytelling, and standup comedy into one show – and it’s freaking awesome!
Word of Mouth Mission:
WOM aims to both support and highlight local wordsmiths and nourish and inspire the audience by way of rediscovering the power of words through various creative forms of self-expression.
As a spoken word artist, to say that I get nervous before performances would be a fairly large understatement – it would be like saying that a bear is basically the same sort of animal in disposition and behavior as a large dog.
I put value in telling people that I get super nervous before performances, as people who see me do spoken word often tell me that they never would’ve guessed that I was nervous. I think it’s important to help dispel the common notion that just because I’m good at what I do and just because I’m up there on stage doing it, equates to me feeling super chill about it. I do not feel super chill about it. Every time I gear up for a spoken word performance I literally say to myself: Whose idea was this?!
Here’s something I penned this morning in my journal:
Last Saturday, as part of a show I helped to put together called Word of Mouth, I shared a newish spoken word piece I wrote this past spring, entitled: Sorrow. There’s a chance I’ve already posted it here on my blog somewhere – but I did a quick search and didn’t see it, so I’m a-thinking perhaps not.
This particular piece sums up rather well the past year for me, in terms of some deeper inner work I’ve been doing. It was only the second time I’d shared it publicly – the first time being out of town at a spoken word gig I had up north in Kalispell in June. It felt fitting to share it with my home crew last Saturday. I’d like to share it here with all of you, as well. Here goes.
I regard my spoken word show and album release – having taken place on Friday night – not as my own but as a collective endeavor of all those who offered their love, support, time, and encouragement from near and far away; all who influenced me along the way; and every life experience I’ve had the pleasure and opportunity to have thus far in my 38-years of living.
It’s hard to put certain things into words – which is really saying something when you’re a writer.
But any good writer knows that you can’t capture the feelings invoked by watching a sunset in the limiting net of words scribed on paper.
Any good writer knows that you can’t fully describe the sumptuous taste of chocolate; or the depth of ease felt after taking a walk in the woods or a dip in the river; or the warmth of spirit generated from being surrounded by the very best people.
My gratitude and love for all the people I have the distinct pleasure of knowing is vast, like the expanse of ocean, sky, and stretching of the universe that weaves us all together in its grace.
With all the heart that I can muster,
pic taken yesterday at the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, Montana
How’s it goin’ buddy?
Okay. Here’s the deal.
You can stay in the car – ya know, the car being a metaphor for myself – but I’m not giving you the keys.
You can kick it in the backseat.
You can even act like a 2-year-old and throw a fit, if you’d like.
I’ll even let you ride shotgun once in a while.
But like, you’re totally NOT driving, is what I’m saying.
End of discussion.
So you might as well quit asking.
P.S Did I mention this gig I have coming up next week is a REALLY big stretch for me?! :)
On Friday night I participated in my first poetry slam. I signed up over a month ago for this annual event mostly because I was interested in taking another large step outside of my comfort zone and practicing to embrace my love of spoken word and sharing it with others. When I emailed a few friends letting them know about the slam and how I’d love to have some support in the audience I jokingly told them that if I simply was able to get on stage and not pass out then I’d consider it a success – mission accomplished!
I was incredibly nervous and over thinking each of my pieces to death on the night of the performance. To help cultivate some grounding energy before the slam I practiced walking meditation in an empty room upstairs from the venue. I also carried a sharpie marker with me to keep my notes and smiley faces on my hands visible, as they would quickly fade with my increasing nervousness and sweating. I wrote the word Breathe on my left hand pointer finger and had one smiley face on my left thumb and palm and one on my right hand to help remind me to breathe and smile. And while I didn’t use it I also brought my meditation bell with me in my bag – ya know, just in case :)