I wrote this quite recently as a draft of a blog post, an update of something I had posted earlier.
‘Very soon I will make my debut as a performing poet Obviously I’m very flattered to have been asked but I am, quite frankly, terrified.
I have a ten minute spot during which I need to delight and enrapture a captive audience.
I fear I will be mocked, which is unlikely but nevertheless broods as an irrational taunt.
It’s not as if I have never performed things on stage before, but they were always me inhabiting another character. Once on stage I felt no fear. This was not me. It was a puppet I was controlling. I’m ok when I’m someone else.
Being me is very difficult.’
However, I managed it. On 6 September I made my debut as a performing poet. It was a huge thing for me as I have in the past had problems of self confidence, and still suffer from shyness and awkwardness in social situations.
I invited only two people I knew. That was a damage limitation exercise on my part as I felt that if I was a complete disaster then these were two people who would not judge me. In hindsight I don’t think any of my friends would judge me in that sense. I would in any case beat them to it and judge myself.
Anyhoo, I spent a week or more putting together some material and rehearsed it alone.
I was a little shakey when it came to actually getting up in front of the mic but then it was fine. I sailed through it, got some laughs and applause as well as some very positive feedback from guests and other performers afterward. I want to do it again now.
I find the last sentence of the draft quite profound.
Being me is very difficult, but it’s possible, and sometimes it’s just wonderful.