Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Performing: an addictive high

Today I performed. It was the first time I performed a piece written by myself in front of an audience, most of whom I barely knew. Safe to assume that I was completely nervous. I can't even say that it was a mix of nervous meets excited because the level of excited was drastically overwhelmed by the nervousness.

Anyways, getting up to the front of the crowd reminded me that I've never really given my written pieces to anyone to critique, never read any of my rhymes to people who themselves write, creatively, nor have I ever read out poetry done by myself. So this was like jumping to level 3 and just getting it all out there.

I was so eager to have someone tell me whether I was delusional about my work or whether I was actually good. I wanted to know how to get better and what I even sounded like. So yes, this was the perfect opportunity.

Hearing everyone else perform their pieces made me feel like mine were amateur and juvenile. I was not too sure if I should perform. However, once I was called upon and the other members began chanting my name, I couldn't help it. The curiosity inside of me, wondering what I would sound like, wondering what they would think of my words, my technique, my everything, got the better of me.

Performing poetry/rhymes/stories is really putting yourself out there. And it does indeed take a lot of guts to do. It involves sharing your feelings, experiences and private emotions with people - sometimes strangers - who may not even get it. I'm not just saying this in order to give myself a pat on the back, but instead because of the physiological experiences I had while standing up there and realizing what I was about to do.

I am beyond glad that I actually showed up to the writers' group today. Knowing that we would be required to bring a piece to perform I did debate whether or not I should go. But then I thought to myself, it would be good to see others perform and learn from the critiques and supports. I don't necessarily have to perform. Either way I updated my notepad with three new pieces that I wrote up last night. And I knew which one of them I would perform if I got called up. So yes in some way I went prepared. I think this was my subconscious urge to just toss my words out into the open and see what people thought of it.

I hadn't practiced the piece at all, so I was nervous as to what it would sound like aloud and whether it would flow under pressure. Standing up there, bones shaking, clearly vibrating, I chose a voice and read my lines. It rhymed; it was fierce; it made sense; it wasn't juvenile; it was great (for my first performance of course).

There's no feeling like hearing that-ever-so-reaffirming "mmm hmm", the nod of agreeance, the creative literary society snaps, what's not to love?!!! Each one of those assisted in helping me continue my piece and is much appreciated. However more important than the external acknowledgement was the internal tensions and releases happening all at the same time. Every word was tense and fierce but created release on saying it.

"Performing was freeing. It was self-appreciative. It was a high. An addictive high. That I hope to indulge in very soon, over and over again."

Thank you Toronto Street Writers for helping me find the literary performer in me.

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