Every week I am going out of my comfort zone. For starters, living in a different state is already welcoming some sort of discomfort. But a part of me felt that this time was a defining moment for me.
Who likes to feel remotely insecure?
Came across Brooklyn’s Book Festival in my daily read AM New York, a free newspaper that is typically read on trains for the early risers, and I wanted to attend an event. It was a Monday night, the event was described as “Slam Poetry.”
I thought well this is cool, I live for live performances, such as my constant urge to go to see intimate concerts. I hop onto the trains and get myself to the Barcalay’s Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, formerly from New Jersey (I only know this information because my little brother is a huge fan; telling you that my family are destined for the East Coast).
I don’t know what to anticipate aside from the fact that there will be creative minds and those who interested in the writing and/or arts background. I slipped myself through the curtains.
Rows of chairs and a medium-height man on the mic in the spot light. He talks about themes and words. Alright, this is cool. Next thing you know, he passes the mic to an audience member. I freaked out, the audience has to participate?! You’re kidding. Then I began to notice that everyone who was at this event, about eight people including myself, have blue notebooks and pens before them.
Oh, I did not sign up for this I thought.
Everyone is going down reading what they wrote. All different formats to witty short stories to a simple yet raunchy haiku. After they were read and written, each writer would stand up on stage and be voted by the judges. Winners get a newly published book from the author.
Great. I have to read aloud and get on stage? This is too wonderful. Please note my sarcasm and my lack of enthusiasm in that last sentence. I just walked into a writing-prompt-slam-poetry-kind-of-thing.
Onto the next round, we all were asked to share a phrase and we all would vote which to use. We used Jenna’s “For the life of me, I can’t believe she just did that.” Timer was up: five minutes. Go.
I observed before I began to draft anything – these young writers began to write right away! Here I was, sitting and figuring how to start. Finally, the timer went up.
We all passed the mic around and read our stuff. When it was my turn – I simply asked, “Do I have to?” Already setting the tone with doubting the quality of my work and how awful I am at public speaking.
By the way, is a weakness of mine. So, if you ever thought I was good at it, well no. I hate it. I really do, even when I taken on leadership roles in high school and college.
I read out loud and I can already sense the lack of creativity and how there was no awe to my little story.
Whereas, Jenna, was praised. Not only her phrase was selected, but a loud round of applause.
Man, I sound so immature while writing this, huh? The insecurity and jealousy rising. I felt so intimidated. Such a newb in prompt writing as well as trying to craft poetry in general.
Moving forward from being timid and doubtful, this definitely made me question myself more. It made me question: how do I expand my imagination? How do I become more creative?
It’s difficult, because if you see most of my work, it’s personal stories or article/informative style.
Sounds black and white. But these writers painted it with streaks of gold. How do I get there, I questioned myself.
Is there a lesson in all of this? Sure. Not that I already do not know this, but as writers we all do have different writing styles. I have to learn to embrace mine and improve continuously. Secondly, I been thinking about going back to school again.
I know, how dreadful, but this time, more of my complete interest: writing. Writing what about?
There are a few courses that cover article writing, food writing and creative writing, all three interest me, but I will have to find one that is more specific for me to excel in. It costs a pretty penny, so I am reevaluating my approach – meeting with other writers and editors say that I shouldn’t. Just keep practicing…
There you have it. I’m no Jenna, but I am a Chary and although I may not be poetic or freaking talented, I like to believe I have a niche, in the midst of all these posts.
Again, being doubtful will lead me nowhere, so I have to disregard those feelings and compare myself to myself yesterday, not Jenna.
*Illustration by S.