As I was on my futile quest to find a free writing course/workshop/group, I came upon an event that interested me, a reading put on by Some Blind Alleys, "a literary entity that supports new Irish writing through publication, readings, and events, as well as creative writing courses for aspiring and established writers." Unfortunately, their courses are profoundly out of my price range (they are reasonably priced; I am unreasonably poor), but the event was only 5 bucks in, so I figured I should check it out. Of course, I literally only had that much in my pocket, so buying a drink once I got inside was out of the question.
Earlier in the day, I received an unexpected request to DJ at that night's Seomra Spraoi gig, since the scheduled DJ backed out. I said, sure, what the hell, and then realized that it would take a certain amount of prep since my itunes files were all a mess, and not only that all my music is now on an external hard drive, so I'd have to decide on the playlist in advance and burn the songs onto a CD-R in order to bring them with me. And I'd started a sewing project as well that I wanted to finish. AND I wanted to go running. So I sewed for a bit, went for my 5k, came back, showered, then started in on my playlist. But of course that took much, much longer than I wanted it to. So I reached a point where I thought gee, maybe I shouldn't go to this reading after all. But I'd planned it in my mind for weeks, and so at the last second, I ran out the door, not bothering to change out of my scuzzy jeans and t-shirt or put any makeup on. "It's a reading, not a fashion show," I thought. So I hopped on my bike and walked in the door of the Cobalt Cafe only a few minutes late. But when I walked in, I was sort of surprised at how posh everyone looked! I mean, in my mind, I guess I just expected to find grubby people like myself, but I walked into this strange scene of women tottering around on high heeled shoes holding full glasses of red wine, dressed to the nines. My only hope is that they had after-reading plans, to be dressed like that. The men were more mixed, but also looked intimidatingly well dressed. I stood there, reminding myself, "You *do* own nice clothing at home, Angela. It's not as if you put any effort in." But as I stood there, being all grubbed out, and too broke to at least wallow my wardrobe sorrows in a glass of wine, my initial feelings of awkwardness and inadequacy turned to a strange sort of anger. I started to wonder about the gritty process of creating a piece of writing, and how opposite it was of this (apparently) glitzy world of presenting it. The only thing to do, since the event was late in starting, was to inspect everyone else in the room with slight scorn, wondering if I'd want to be the sort of person who got dressed up for a literary event. I think I am, actually. But maybe only if I were the one reading.
So there I was, standing behind the doorway, leaning against the wall like a true wall flower, looking on, wondering if I should leave and finish picking out my DJ set. But then I thought, well, that would be 5 euro wasted, so I'd better stay and at least see something. My obvious bad vibes must have been picked up by the organizer of the event, Greg, who very graciously introduced himself to me. He wanted to know how I'd found out about the event, saying, "We don't get a lot of stragglers to these events." I definitely qualified as a straggler, and I laughed at being outed for my lack of fitting in. My pride prevented me from accepting a drink (or rather the fact that I knew I couldn't buy one back), but it was nice to be reminded that I was actually out amongst fellow human beings.
Now, here's where I am going to be brutally honest, because it's my blog and I see no reason to blow smoke up anyone's ass. Carlo Gébler is a highly accomplished author, obviously, and I'm a nobody. But if he himself asked me what I thought about the piece he read last night, I would have told him that it was a very good first draft. Usually when you see writers read their own work, it goes one of two ways. Either their reading makes you fall in love with the writing, and see something in it you'd never have seen, or it makes you feel uncomfortable and put off. I actually felt that the way he read the piece did the work a disservice, and I had to look down at the floor while he read, because his mannerisms and gesticulations distracted me from listening to the words. It felt a little like when you go to a small hole in the wall comedy club, and well known comedian comes in to test out new jokes. But I'm glad I went. Sometimes it helps to realize that we're all in the same boat, and that just because I haven't been published doesn't mean I'm not talented. I have faith that I have something to say, and I can say it compellingly.
I didn't get to stay to see the other readers, since I had to rush back home and finish preparing my DJ set, then jet over to Seomra Spraoi. The rest of the night was spent playing music, dancing, being plied with wine, and chatting until the wee hours. These days, it's been very difficult navigating the ups and downs of grieving for the loss of my father, so these full days remind me that there are lovely things in life to celebrate.