Open Mic Night in Newmarket

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.


open-mic-june-17-mary-mcintyre-1After 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.
cafe-thingsWhen 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


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