Some mics are more open than others.
On the second Tuesday of each month, at West End Wine Bar in Durham, this brilliantly named reading series pairs one poet and one prose writer, scheduled in advance, for about a half hour each.
After failing to catch this one for months, I finally made it last week—with the extra motivation of hearing a fellow poet/friend from a now mostly disbanded (but still friendly) critique group.
Much as I love performing and the rapid-fire feel of an open mic, I have to say, it was a really nice change of pace. The fiction writer was classic—herringbone Ivy cap, salty beard, wry humor, great pacing. And of course, my poet friend was wonderful—a mix of upbeat and downbeat and one magnificently disorienting poem about spelunking.
That night, I saw regulars from open mics that span three counties. Clearly, it’s a major hit with Triangle writers.
And why not? You get a long drink of two distinct styles, all while enjoying comfy chairs, charcuterie, and a French wine named after love drunk sheep.
Even more fabulous, I saw many faces I didn’t recognize at all. A clear sign that this is a venue where I might hear some new-to-me voices and meet a few more local writers I can fan and follow or maybe even collaborate with.
I’m not sure how the organizers vet their readers, but I presume they have some system for sorting through the various volunteers who raise their hands for selection for future dates.
Eventually, I may put my name in the hat. But not until I’ve been a few more times.
Sometimes it’s not about what you have to say, but all there is to hear.