I had a reading at the Cleveland Drafts Festival. It was over Columbus Day weekend. I had fun and really enjoyed it. I heard other writers and poets read their work in the Larchmere area of Cleveland. (Larchmere isn’t a suburb-it’s more like a small section of the city with a name)
The venues were interesting. The one venue I thought was the most unique and the coolest was the auto garage. Yes! They actually had a reading in a real life auto garage. It wasn’t very warm, but it was the intent that was good. The place was super packed. There are pictures, but I’m sitting behind a pole, so I can’t be seen. The one thing that can be seen are the really cute boots I wore.
My reading was in Larchmere Tavern. People were eating on one side of the Tavern and the other side of the Tavern was for the reading. I wasn’t nervous. I was completely cool. I met the organizers and they went over my bio. I sat in the back and reviewed my work. Everything was super kosher.
Then, my family arrived. “Stay cool.” I tell myself, “Just be cool. You got this.”
I was super surprised when my sister showed up. I wasn’t sure she and her fiancee were coming. He’s a big guy. Stay cool. My mother and father came (they have never heard me read) and my super cool cousin and her super cool husband were also there. Another friend came-she surprised me and I was very happy she came.
I’m super cool. I’m waiting for my intro. I’m walking up to the microphone when my sister yells, “THAT’S MY SISTER!” When I became audible property of someone, my nerves kicked in. My hands started shaking. I swear the make up melted off my face. The sound guy fixes the mic and it’s right in my nose. Great, now I’m nose breathing into the microphone.
“Turn to the side,” he whispered.
Sideways booger projections, nice.
I start reading. All the words are a jumble on the page. Nothing is working right-my mouth, my eyes or anything. I take off my glasses. Okay, not much improvement, but I can roll with it.
I start reading. I was nervous at first (my father said it showed). An aside-I took a freaking speech class! Two of them! It’s like all that college knowledge was gone! Anyway, I’m reading. I’m lost in the words. I start making different voices and then it’s over.
Long pause before applause. I later discovered that some of the dudes were freaked out but the women could relate. (The story was a woman is haunted by her screaming child.) One woman told me, “You know when a kid has colic? Yeah, I’ve had them thoughts.” Honey, we all have had those thoughts.
I went out for drinks with my cousin and crew. After it was all over, I arrived home by 10:35 pm. I thought it was much later, but it was enough time for me to wind down and go to bed.
Given the opportunity, I would definitely go back up to work with Twelve Literary Arts or Cleveland Drafts any time. It’s great to go home and see your city as an adult. I was able to see the literary community is alive and thriving in Cleveland, Ohio.
I am also Cleveland proud!!