I hosted an open mic last week for a friend. It was called Chalk Talk Narrative. The theme was family and the art of brevity.
First I read a few of my stories. Then I asked the group to compose their own six-word memoir after reading several examples from the book, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Famous & Obscure Writers. Edited by Smith Magazine.
A group of about 10 people sat around a long table Everyone shared their six-word memoir and then read a few pieces of their own writing.
What was special about the evening was not that I was able to read a few of my pieces to an audience but that this small group of people, (some strangers) gathered together for an evening of listening to each other’s words.
A student of mine read a piece he wrote in class about his eyes. Initially he did not think the piece was good enough to read. Yet everyone loved it. His courage to read and the response was what he needed. Without each other, we can be our own harshest critic which can cause us to shut down our words for fear that it is just no good. The Open Mic gives the writer the encouragement to keep writing and that is worth it.
An Open Mic creates community. The people around the table that night were all different ages and from a wide variety of backgrounds, expressing their deepest self, but also willing to pause long enough in their busy lives to listen.
And perhaps make a small difference in one writer’s life.
It doesn’t get much better than that.