I was trying not to let the audience know my knees were shaking, and they were, but just a little bit. However, facing a fear is always like that. The cool doesn’t arrive if it’s not already there. What’s left is an enormous smile and it didn’t leave my face until I went to bed.
Still, while triumphant, I know there were some things I could’ve done better, so here are my learnings from last evening, both experienced and observed – maybe they can benefit any future poets/performers out there:
1) Do not wear four inch heels if you are not familiar with the venue. If you do, you will need someone to hold your hand when you walk down the stairs located at the front of the stage. This is a little bit humiliating, so treacherous footwear is better left at home.
2) Do not force funny. Funny is a gift and we don’t all have it. Like most gifts, it will either come to you naturally or leave you out in the cold if you try to recreate it. Second-hand embarrassment is the worst – don’t make your audience feel that for you.
3) Do not apologize for your work before you share it. Disclaimers make people doubt you before you’ve given them a reason to.
4) Do not get distracted by your audience. They may shout-out, “Yeah, baby!” when you say the word panties or talk the whole time you’re reading. This is rude but there’s nothing you can do about it – unless you are a comedian.
5) Do not assume everyone can see how nervous you are. If they do, then they probably won’t tell you, unless they’re an asshole, which makes them not matter. Acknowledge your feelings and push them aside. A stage is a powerful platform – own it.
For future music and poetry events please check out Amnesia’s calendar: Amnesia 863 Valencia St.
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