About four months ago I started participating in a program called “Sounds,” a local monthly show of music and spoken word by amateur and professional artists.
The show consists of one musical act and one spoken word act each doing a set. Other musicians, poets and spoken word artists then take turns performing in an open mic, coffee house style.
Words from the audience
At each show, there is a blank piece of paper with a pen beside it. Audience members are encouraged to write down one word each on this paper. Not everyone does this, but enough do that the list is usually longer than ten words.
Over the next month everyone is encouraged to try their hand at writing a poem using all or as many of the words from the list as possible and reading the results at the next gathering.
Seems harmless, right?
So, I’ve been participating in that. And I can assure you that, as poets go, I make a damn fine blogger. But the point isn’t to be brilliant, it’s to challenge myself, so I continue.
Yesterday was “Sounds!”
Yesterday, I took my words and went to “Sounds.” But there’s more to the story. Some of you may be aware that I write lyrics, create music. I like to think I do okay. I have little proof of this, but I have no proof yet that I don’t, so I persist, I pursue.
The little proof that I might be okay at it is in the fact that a group called Our Shotgun Wedding has put one of my songs into their lineup. And they were the headline group yesterday at “Sounds” where they debuted this song. Talk about major stress for me, my song being performed for the first time AND I was reading a couple of poems for Words From The Audience. How could it get more stressful than that?
Yes, Kelly, how could it get more stressful than that?
Well, let me remind you that I have ADHD.
A friend of mine who feels that I should be performing, musically, agreed to go onstage with me for her singing debut, if I would return to the stage. It’s been more than 20 years since I performed anywhere other than picking up a guitar at the local coffee shop and singing too loudly and off key for the amusement of my fellow caffeine addicts.
But I agreed to do this. Actually, I trapped myself. She said “Why don’t you–” and I said “I will if you do–” thinking that would end it. She said “Okay!” and I said “Damn!” under my breath.
Then it happened. Word went out that we would be performing, but at the last minute, she declared an overloaded schedule. She is a spoken word artist and was doing several other things for the show and she bailed. I can’t blame her, she is a busy woman. I actually admire her. I wish I could say “This is too much.” but I don’t have that kind of insight into time management.
So I went on alone. If you’re keeping score, that’s one song being performed by professional musicians, two original poems, and two original songs being performed by me, all at the same show.
Of course, I couldn’t be held responsible for daylight savings time starting yesterday, or for not realizing it until Saturday night. So, with insufficient sleep and on a wing and a prayer, I took the stage. Twice, literally, and once, figuratively.
And I loved it.
What have we learned from this?
I’ve learned that my ADHD is still a big part of my life. I’ve also learned that, while I don’t have a very good concept of time, it does level everything in its path, including the things that cause stress. Time passed, and here I am on the other side of “Sounds.”
And how did I do? Scoring my survival is easy, 100 percent. As to my stage work, I don’t know. I’m told I did okay, but I’m not very self aware.
Will this ever happen again?
Yes, of course it will, I still have ADHD.