In 26 hours, someone will gesture that I’m next. I’ll stand and walk to a microphone. The room will be mostly dim except for a light shining down on the top of my head. (Roots dyed? Check.)
I’ll clear my throat. Swallow. Inhale. Exhale. And then, for just under two minutes and fifteen seconds, despite the way the page in my hand shakes, I’ll read an original piece of writing — one of my own. It’ll be something that came out of my recent weeks studying with the incomparable Jack Grapes. It’ll be something short — a poem or flash fiction, or god, I don’t know, maybe a mini-personal essay, a scene or a — fuck — it’ll be something. Right now, though, it doesn’t exist.
Today, I am a working writer with an audience waiting and it feels wonderful.
I know the folks gathered in the theater won’t be like real patrons — more like parents at a dance recital, but still, it’s going to be a neat experience.
And the best part will be hearing the work of my fellow students. Every class has been a feast: I’ve heard phrases that have made my jaw drop, stanzas that have brought my hands to spontaneous applause, pages that have made me say, “Don’t stop,” with embarrassing urgency.
My fellow students are so good that I keep track of their names — not because I’m a creepy stalk monster — but because they are ones to watch for. My fellow students make me say, “Wow!” on regular basis. My fellow students have inspired my best work, they know my secrets, they know my weaknesses.
My fellow students won’t mind if I read something tomorrow that they’ve heard before. Besides, it’s a group reading with people from all the classes. But I’ve decided that I want to make something new. Because isn’t that what this is all about? Creating?
I love waking up in the morning knowing that by the time I sleep again, I’ll have put something into the world that didn’t existed before — that couldn’t have existed if I didn’t make it. I love this feeling. I love it.
I’m not procrastinating; I’m prolonging.
Okay, prolonging with maybe a tiny side of procrastination, but not panicking. Okay, maybe panicking just a bit, but not, like, in a panic-attack kind of way, more like in a, “Where’s that doo-hicky to make the straps tighter before this bungee jump?” cotton-mouthy, “Is it hot in here?” “Oh my,” kind of way.
Yeah. I’m procrastinating.
Recently, a friend of mine wrote to me that it would pain her if my writing leads to disappointment. Years ago, I would have shared her concern. But not now. Now I know that the process is why I do it.
I’m so grateful when I get to sit and write. And being able to share everything about that with people who love it as much as I do — man, I don’t know if there’s anything I like more than that these days. Sap, sap, goo, blah. Drivel paste snore.
So. Whatever it is that’s about to get made, I’ll post it here tomorrow after the reading. . . I wonder what it’s going to be? Exiting, huh?