A year and a half ago I barely left my house. I shared my time between my work and my art. No one in Portland knew me, and I didn’t know anyone. Laurie, my partner, gets the credit for pushing me out into the world. In September 2008, she stated that my life didn’t have enough context, that there was nothing to discuss. I was offended at first, but after thinking about it, I saw that she was right. I applied with the Guttery and joined Portland’s Poems and Coffee group. Being accepted by the Guttery took over 3 months. By contrast, Poems and Coffee are open to anyone. They are a wonderful free-flowing group for poets and those interested in poetry. This is where I ran into Shawn Austin, a local poet whose work immediately appealed to me. Eventually, Shawn and I decided to form a new group, The Moonlit Poetry Caravan, with a narrower focus and operating by acceptance only, to ensure a responsible participation.
In a matter of three or four months, I had made a dozen new friends, all wonderful writers and thinkers. I couldn’t believe I had been missing this experience for most of my adult years.
In September 2009, Bruce Green, a dear friend and a Guttery member, set up a reading for the Guttery at the Blackbird Wine Shop. I felt that we did a good job, and it was fun to perform in front of an audience, my first experience of that sort since earlier this century in San Francisco.
Now I was hooked! I attended an evening at The Show And Tell Gallery, followed by an open mic session. I enjoyed other poets and read some of my work. Each space has its own vibe. I liked the vibe here at the Three Friends Coffee House. I talked to Melissa Sillitoe, the curator of Show And Tell, about staging our own performance. She kindly gave us the floor on February 8, 2010, allowing us to present our 1-hour fairy tale “Love Outlives Us”.
Since then, I visited and/or read at Tony’s Tavern downtown, Three Friends, Hillsboro’s Last Monday Poetry, If Not For Kidnap in Portland, Stonehenge gallery, Overlook Park annual poetry event, and several other locations. John Sibley Williams, Shawn Austin and I are reading on September 26th at St. Johns Booksellers in Portland, 2pm. A whole team of us are going to perform in Seaside on 10/2, with a three hour marathon music meets literature performance (5-8 pm, Beech Books, Seaside, OR).
Strange how much can change in your life once you step out of the house and into the world. And if literature is not your interest, all of this still applies. It’s more fun sharing with others than being cooped up by oneself. Get out of the house and make connections!