Video: San Diego Open Mic Debut

Close up woman's face looking out of corner of eyes.
Reading at San Diego Writers, Ink.

So this happened. One week after arriving in San Diego, I jumped right in to the literary scene and signed up to read at the 2nd Friday Dime Stories open mic event at San Diego Writers, Ink.

SDWI is a writing organization that offers classes, workshops, writing groups, and other events for writers of all ages, styles, and stages. In conjunction with, SDWI hosts a three-minute prose open mic night every month in their meeting room at Liberty Station in the Point Loma area of the city. Hubby and I went for a pre-event drink at Slaters 50/50 which prides itself on “Bacon, Burgers, and Beer.” We then made our way through the maze of look-alike buildings that is Liberty Station, an old barracks repurposed for housing, restaurants, parks, and an arts district in a pretty Spanish-architectural style. A nice woman pointed us to the right place just through an archway, down a portico, and to the right. 

The place was buzzing with energy, and by the time the event started, the room was full. Twenty-five or so people read their stories, punctuated (as you will hear if you watch the video) by the roar of jet planes taking off from nearby San Diego International Airport. After signing up, Hubby and I found some seats and settled in to enjoy a literary evening. 

I read fourth, happily, as otherwise I might have been too keyed up to listen well and would have missed some of the touching, humorous, insightful, engaging work of so many talented writers. And I liked the short format, little snippets of goodness, small bites, so to speak. Literary tapas. 

Since the three-minute rule is “strictly enforced” (sort of, not really, but most people complied), I chose to read a 300-word piece I’d written several years ago. “When The Last Print Book Was Bound: A story from the future” is about a group of bibliophiles who live in a future where presses have been destroyed and print is a dead technology. They go searching for Gutenberg’s lost grave where they discover a shocking turn of…well…something. 

As I’d hoped, the audience laughed at the end. I was a first-timer. They had no idea what to expect, and neither did I. At first the airplanes threw me off my rhythm, so there was an unfortunate bit of nervous fidgeting with my hair and glances up at the ceiling. Soon, though, I was into the flow. Best of all, I think I’ve already found a simpatico tribe of writers here in my new city. I will go back next month, but maybe next time I’ll simply sit back, listen, and enjoy. 

Have you ever read in a public space? I’d love to hear about your experiences! 

Dime Stories at San Diego Writers, Ink, Liberty Station, March 8, 2019


  1. That was awesome, Shelley! The laughter was immediate and appreciative. Well done!

  2. That was great, Shelley. And great that you found a group in San Diego. A new adventure begins!

    1. Thanks, Georgette. It’s not quite the same as my lovely Advance Copies, but what a nice group of writers!

  3. Awesome!!!! Such a delightful ending that all book lovers can appreciate.
    I wonder if anyone has ever written a piece to coincide with the sound of jet engines?? It would be kind of fun to work that into a piece for that exact reason, Like making lemonade out of lemons!!

    1. There was one person whose story kind of fit with the airplane sounds. It is a good idea!

  4. I really enjoyed your reading. Surprise ending, after laughing I thought, of course.

    1. Hi Martha! Thank you, thank you. I’m glad you laughed. I need to work some more on my public reading skills–like looking up once in awhile to engage the audience–but it’s all a learning experience.

  5. Enjoyed your reading, very funny ending which “landed” well! Get it? Airport joke!

  6. Literary tapas! Oh I loved that phrase. Can’t watch the video yet, phone not working so good but I look forward to it soon

    1. Thanks, Joyce! I thought of you because I think the Kentucky Derby is approaching.

  7. Thank you! Yes it is this Saturday. I just have read that the favorite has been scratched. I am sad. But at least it’s just a minor throat surgery so he will be ok

    1. Joyce, I hope to watch the Derby at a local watering hole. Now, question. Do I NEED to buy a fancy hat? lol. xoxo Shelley

  8. I loved the surprise ending! I thought you kept your cool considering how loud those planes were.

    1. Hi Sandra:

      Yes, the pauses for the planes are called “the Point Loma Pauses” and they stop the running clock during them. This was one of those stories that just came to me one day when I was thinking about the phrase “turning over in his grave.” Thanks for stopping in!

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