Seth Godin quote: Anxiety is practicing failure in advance.
Fear of public speaking spikes anxiety for most people.
For me, public speaking on June 17 was reading a poem I’d written before a group in a coffeehouse. And because I don’t usually write poetry, I was certain they’d think me a poser, a fraud, a rank beginner and a waste of time, or worse – laughable.
Let me back up for a moment to tell you how my test occurred.
Fellow writer (Life Writers Ink), Cheryl Andrews, was Keynote Speaker for Open Mic Night at Books/Cafe and Things in Newmarket. Cheryl is an emerging writer whose short story, Four Forty Four, appears in the Writers’ Community of Durham Region’s prose anthology Wicked Words.
After Cheryl finished speaking of her writing experience, plucky guests read their works of poetry, or prose, or performed their poems to guitar accompaniment at the mic on a small stage. I agreed to being fifth reader on the Coordinator’s list. I warned my friends that I might back out at the last moment. But I grabbed my papers when I heard my name, something in my core propelled me to the stage — probably my father’s favourite phrase: The world hates a coward.
I’ve kicked around long enough to absorb whispered encouragements along the way.
The journey is the reward.
Failure is feedback.
Successful people see failure as an acceptable risk.
I said a quick introduction of me as a writer, what organizations I belong to, and why I wrote my poem, titled Ugly Like A Scar. Writers are a generous, encouraging bunch. I’d forgotten that they, above all, want other writers to succeed.
When I read the last line, the audience applauded. I sat down in a big comfy chair that felt like a warm hug. And to the eight courageous performers at the mic the same night, I salute you.
Ugly Like A Scar, published in Pearson Education Publishing’s textbook for Grade 9/10 English Poetry Module Live Lines. A complementary copy will arrive in the mail any day now.
Books/Cafe and Things
208 Main Street South, Newmarket
(Just north of Fairy Lake in downtown Newmarket)
For directions, call 905-868-9497 or view this map
Books/Cafe and Things Open Mic Night June 17/10