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 DimeStories.org, 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!