So I’m really excited to be reading again next weekend, at New Visions Gallery in Scranton. I was really happy to be asked, and truthfully, it’s been a while. I was kicking around the idea of reading some fiction, but the trouble is, I haven’t been writing any. I still love fiction, and I will continue to write it, but lately I’ve been so focused on my Capstone project, which is a chapbook of poetry. I’ve written quite a few new poems over the break, and I will continue to do so throughout the semester. Why not read poetry?
Well, I’m going to. But, let me tell you all, I’m scared to death. It’s always a little jarring to share a new piece, but to do so in front of a crowd, terrifying. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got a good mix of published poetry thrown in, (so I know at least SOME of it is good), but I’ve also got about five or six un-critiqued pieces. Now these pieces are strong, they’ve got imagery and emotion, they’ve got hours of drafting and revision, but they are still lacking the criticism I’ve become used to in my writing. I’m half excited to share them, and half shaking in my boots.
See, this is really stepping out of the box for me. Not only am I writing and revising on my own, I’m also going to share this work. While I strongly believe in outside criticism, (workshops are essential!) I also believe that I tend to rely too much on outside opinion. I tend to bash my own work until other writers that I respect tell me it’s good. At the end of last semester, I had to present a portfolio and my proposal for my Capstone project to a committee. The only criticism I received in the entire presentation was that I need to believe in myself and my own work. So, I’m taking the committee’s excellent advice, and I’m going to jump off the ledge with these new pieces that I believe are good.
Normally, I hate public speaking, but sharing my work is a little bit different. I still get nervous, but it’s not the same, “Oh my god, I’m going to forget everything I have to say, and look really stupid” nervous. Mostly, I have little flutters about standing up in front of people, and I get the whole, “What if I look really stupid in front of these authors or what if my work sucks?” I mean, I consider myself a writer, and I have a smattering of publication credits. Do I consider myself the next Kim Addonizio or Gary Jackson? No way! It’s humbling to read the work of great poets, both new and old. But I keep trying 🙂
So, if you’re in the area, looking for something to do, why not come to the reading? New Visions Gallery, 201 Vine Street in Scranton, January 14th, 7:00 p.m.