Having been pent up in the house for the past two weeks with back spasms and other menopausal ailments, I organized a much-needed evening with friends Tina, Donna and Patt.
We decided to meet at Picasso’s Open Mic Night in St. Charles, Missouri. Picasso’s is a coffeehouse I have frequented for years, first patronizing the original location in O’Fallon.
As I entered the cafe, I was quickly directed to Dave, the host for the evening. Dave was a young good looking guy sporting a navy yarn cap with light blue bill.
I introduced myself. He asked if I was a singer, and I laughed silently.
“No, I’m a writer.”
“Great. I’ll put you down on the list.” On the chalkboard, he squeezed me in after the first five singers.
The evening progressed with an eclectic mix of musicians. Patrons filled the coffeehouse to the brim.
It was so refreshing to actually hear new voices, original songs and great melodies. I especially enjoyed the medley of popular songs Dave and his Dad sang from the Baby Boomer generation. Another favorite was Chris Griffin. What wonderful talent I thought, and shared my feelings with Tina.
Well, it was my turn. Dave introduced me as a writer and I stepped up to the mic.
My choice was the essay that gave me the confidence I needed as a writer. “The Perfect Day” first appeared in Cuivre River Anthology IV and again in “The Folly Current Newspaper.”
Unsure of how I would be received, I was thankful the smooth and mellow tones of 17-year old Caroline put everyone in a Zen mood. I was surprisingly wired, but relaxed – induced by the sublime Expresso Martini I ordered earlier in the evening made by the crafty barista-bartender at Picasso’s.
While reading my musings, I surveyed the intimate setting and the faces of the audience. Surprisingly, everyone was listening. I tried not to look down, but rather into the crowd – a discipline I learned through public speaking.
As I spoke my last few words, I felt good.
Our host, Dave, walked back to the mic and thanked me for reading. The audience clapped. I retreated to the security and comfort of our table.
A few minutes later, the need to use restroom was in order. As I snaked my way through the crowd to the back of the cafe, something cool happened. Maybe four twenty-somethings approached me saying “great essay”, “awesome story.” Some inquired if I was a writer. I was proud to say yes.
But the best compliment of all came from a young man who had gone through five heart surgeries. “I loved your story. It was special.”
That comment made the evening all worth it.
As I sat down (with a big fat smile on my face), I thanked the Lord for a great evening with friends, and rocked out to the funk music of John, and the sweet harmonies of Josiah and Becky.
Open Mic Night. Sure. Sign me up.