However, people keep telling me that the open mic’s success has nothing to do with size, but more with art, ideas, poets appreciating each other’s work, liveliness, life expressed, expression itself, a breakthrough of expressing one’s self, to others, being part of a community.
And those are all good points.
But this summer I’ve discovered a new guage of success. So far I’ve taken part in (organizing and/or reading) three very small open mics. Two of them consisted of a small number of poets essentially reading to each other. But in each case, something good happened. For instance, a young lady who was very anxious and initially afraid to read a poem she considered too “dark” was encouraged to read it anyway, and applauded afterwards for her courage. In these small events, unexpected communication can happen, at least with me the organizer. I and others have more time to help each other with unusual problems that might not otherwise be expressed. And so on.
I came home from these tiny, supposedly unsuccessful events very satisfied. And with this new idea: If one good thing happens at an event, then not only was it a success but I could go one step further and say that the event had a purpose and now its purpose was fulfilled. For me, everything else that happened at the event became simply the things that were required for that good thing to happen. And that makes strong sense to me because when everyone goes home, most will go back to their carry-on lives, to some degree as if the event hadn’t happened at all. But that one person will be changed.
From now on, I’m not going to worry so much about numbers, and instead try to become more sensitive to what’s happening, and maybe what needs to happen.
The next small event to look forward to is this Saturday morning, a poetry reading at the Mantis Eco and Arts Festival at Boler Mountain. We read at 11:00 am. If you’re into nature, as I am, you should enjoy it. http://mantisfestival.blogspot.ca/
Then, the last summer event I’m working on (organizing and hosting) will be Aug. 16 at Mykonos Restaurant, The Sultry Summer Poetry Gathering, put together by London Open Mic and sponsored by The Ontario Poetry Society TOPS, at 12:30 pm. There’s an open mic to read at, and you can get the idea of what TOPS is, and if joining would be of any benefit to you. http://www.theontariopoetrysociety.ca/Poetry%20London%2015.htm