Within the past week, after spending a lot of time planning and thinking, I made the move and launched my own reading series. The Fig Widow Reading Series has it’s first event in April, at what I feel is the convergence of Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Sexual Assault Awareness month. For so long I’ve wanted to be the person behind the scenes, making moves, planning things, and I finally get the chance to help other poets and myself bring our voices to the light.
I’ve been writing for years. It took me until my sophomore year of college to be able to share those words with others on a stage, and until I was 23 to start going out on the open mic circuit in my city. Now, I’m working on a book and starting this series and feeling like the life I’ve wanted is finally starting to take form. The career I’ve wanted. Because writing is both my passion and the way I make a living, it’s easy to get a little burned out, tired, jaded. In these moments I focus on the feeling I get when I go to a poetry reading. Just entering the space where I know poets I admire and respect will be does something to the blood in my veins. It gets heavier and thinner at once, able to move freely through my hands, carrying something vital. I listen and see and write like I’m insatiable. That effect, that feeling, I want to be in it every day. I want other people to be in that space with me. Especially women, black and brown women and lesbians. I want us to feel the fire of creativity and kinship.
I’m not going to pretend that I’m not terrified and nervous. I’m organizing this event and performing at it. I’m trying to find money for food and to pay the other performers. What if someone doesn’t show up, what if I bomb? What if I start to speak and my voice floats up and out of my mouth forever? I don’t know. I let the fear of being a disaster wreck me and hold me back for years and years. I want to acknowledge that fear and push through it so it can’t conquer me.
Most importantly I am so so so excited. Even on bad days I find a pearl to roll between my fingers, carrying it’s smooth opalescence to the core of me.
If you’re in Pittsburgh I have so many great events coming up that I hope to see you at. If you’re not, maybe I’ll be in your city someday soon.
I’m trying to be more regular about this blog stuff so I’m going to do a wrap of the stuff I’m reading/have read in 2019 within the next two weeks.