So how did I solve the problem? I didn’t. I just made it worse, continuously, by hatching up a series of ideas that each added more work.
Okay, if I were paid for all this, that would be one thing, but money is an incentive that simply doesn’t exist in the world of poetry. Sheer stubbornness has to make up for it. And lately I’ve been wondering how far stubbornness will take me.
There are only two actions I can think of that might help ensure the open mic’s longevity. Most burdened organizers would take the first: Simply hire staff to do all the detail work. But in a volunteer organization with virtually no income, that’s not possible. Okay, then how about volunteers doing it just because it makes them smile? No way. Their own lives are already too full.
That leaves streamlining. Streamlining has become my big thing. I`m on the lookout. My bright ideas now are not concerned with growth, but with pruning, hacking, ripping out by the roots.
For instance, from now on, instead of posting a batch of poems by the featured poet, and then a while later an interview, I’m going to post the interview and the poems together.
That doesn’t sound like much? Okay, look at it this way: That one extra posting has to be put on the website, on both its interview-&-poems page and its home page, also on our Facebook page, also on several other group Facebook pages, also on our email list. It also has to be written, revised and revised again and again, edited, combined with a photograph, and these posted together properly in both the website and the Facebook page, differently in each. Then there are all the keystrokes involved, the copying, pasting, entering, making mistakes and correcting them and on and on. And half a day has gone by. So you get the idea. One less batch of all this stuff is an extra year added to my life.
But a much more blessed, happy-making, life-saving act of streamlining would be simply to shorten the season. So far, we’ve been taking a two-month break in the summer, which really isn’t more than a couple weeks considering the time it takes to do followups to the last event and preparation for the next. So here’s the big change: Now I’m cutting two more months, September and January. The first Wednesday of September is still really holiday time for many, and so is the first Wednesday of January, which this year was New Year’s Day itself, and so had to be moved. Moved twice, it turned out, losing many people in its wake.
Now Linda and I can seriously relax in the summer, and maybe even head for warmer climes in mid-winter! She will bask in the sun, and I in her smile.