I went to read at the Hugo House open mic tonight!

Man, I was nervous. Which was awesome. I am pushing out.

I was inspired by that man I mentioned, and that sap rising. I like that feeling… being vulnerable. Caring a lot. High stakes and risk.

It’s thrilling…but it can take me over.

I don’t want that to take over my life.

I don’t want to stop it either.

So often before, that’s been my strategy when something gets too big. Feel that less. That is dangerous.

But this time, No.

This time, I want to keep my balance by making the other things in my life bigger too. So I looked at what is so thrilling about a new love:

Risk, vulnerability, being seen.

And I thought, how do I amp that up in other places?

Get my work out there. In person. Take a bigger risk.

Hugo House Open Mic.

Oh, man. Oh woman. Oh all things in between. It is like food to me, to be bathed in the spoken word. I can actually feel it in my torso, like I am a vessel and the words are water filling me from the inside.

I am thrilled by words.

I didn’t get to read tonight. The website said signups start at 6:30. But, actually, they started at 6:20. At 6:20, I was in my car, doing a final read of my five minute piece, and final edits. By 8, I had to go pick up Forest from James’ house. (Thanks, James.)

But I listened. I heard the man who wrote a long long urban loneliness, the man who wrote a farm murder, the woman who wrote a stillbirth and a power song and a death song.

And there is a poem I heard tonight, that felt strong, like I was feeling. I asked the author if I could share it here. He said “Yes.” Thank you Arlo Jacob Smith for this poem. 

Makes the Garden Grow

A lot of treating people badly.

A lot of being alone.

A lot of coffee shops.

A lot of libraries.

A lot of long walks.

A lot of bourbon.

A lot of cigarettes.

A lot of sleepless nights.

A lot of cold sweats.

Make the garden grow.

Okay, I don’t need a lot of cigarettes and I don’t need to treat people badly, though I do mean to be less careful… Okay, can we ignore that first line? But say the rest out loud. There is something about it. Risk. Vulnerabilty, maybe.

I’m reaching into what makes my garden grow.