Arriving at the Queen Elizabeth Oval, I parked a distance away (I didn't know any better) but it gave me time to breathe and quell my churning stomach before walking into the club rooms. The flurry of report writing I had found myself in over the past two weeks hadn't allowed me to think too much about the poetry reading and get myself in knots over it but once I got to the venue, the reality of it hit me. I was about to read my poetry in front of an audience, and an audience that included the likes of alicia sometimes, Nathan Curnow and Sean M Whelan! Not to mention the local poets with whom I would be reading whose accompishments also intimidated me, and those who were there as audience members whose accomplishments etc etc. What was I thinking? What was Tru thinking asking me to be involved? What was Nic thinking encouraging me to say yes? Neither of them put much thought into how out of my depth and drowning I would be!
Tru started the show with thank yous and a general overview of the program for the evening. And my stomach turned itself into a pretzel-shaped knot of anxiety. Tru introduced the first poet and my heart began to thud so loudly I thought it might put the poor woman off her reading. I don't think I heard her first couple of words and all that blood rushing around in my head was about to ruin my evening so I had a quick but very stern talking to my self-esteem and told it to get over itself. From then on the night ran smoothly. When Tru called upon me to read (even though Nic had to put a hand on my knee to stop me from leaping to my feet in over-anxious enthusiasm and my face burnt with embarrassment at my limited bio) I was able to walk reasonably calmly to the microphone and read my two poems. People laughed (at the funny bits), people clapped, I was relieved and high on 'I-did-it'.
Later, I was able to schmooze with alicia and Nathan and meet some lovely local people too. I'm pleased to report that nobody knew I was nervous (or at least they were all too polite to say so) and that my poems went over well.
Now I can't wait to do it again...