So I try not to put myself into too many of the ‘muses’ on here. – At least I hope I don’t! Purely because despite it being Jj’s Muse, it is not best practice as either a writer, listener, friend etc., to be constantly ‘putting yourself into the narrative‘.

You know, someone is telling you about a thing they are thinking about, going through, experienced etc., and before they have finished sharing, you are interjecting with when that happened to you. Not that your shared experience can’t be of benefit, or is unwelcome. It’s just sometimes not the time or place.

Having said all that, I had a totally unplanned opportunity to participate in a poetry slam on Saturday.

I was going just to listen, and in fact almost didn’t go at all. Because I’d been out from 7.30 am, was just finishing a meal with the people I’d spent the first half of the day with, and wasn’t confident that the 20 minutes I had left before the poetry slam was scheduled to start, was enough in Jakarta traffic.

However, I somehow convinced myself to chance it, then groaned a,

and this is why I said we prob wouldn’t make it.

to the friend who came with me, eventually arriving only 10 minutes late, yet in time for the start.

As we sat and enjoyed the poets sharing their pieces inspired by Walt Whitman, we came to a point when the MC mentioned there’d probably be an opportunity for readers from the audience. This due to some of the pre-registered participants being unable to attend.

My heart started that dug dug dug thing it often does when I have to speak publicly. Prompted purely by me thinking about whether I should ask to read.

As other pre-registered poets continued to share, I did a quick search for a Walt Whitman quote that might be relevant to the poem I had in mind to share. I landed on the following,

Whoever denies me it shall not trouble me, Whoever accepts me he or she shall be blessed and shall bless me. – Song of the Open Road

And then I just sat there, continued listening to the other poets, and wondered/semi-debated, if I should, or would go up to the MC or not.

In fairness to myself, I was waiting for a bit more of a steer on the protocol for readers from the audience. I was at the same time also challenging myself, on whether I would let this opportunity pass me by. All the while, watching as the names in the fish bowl grew fewer, and fewer.

When there were only 3 names left in the bowl, the MC announced that anyone from the audience who wanted to read should just come and register by speaking to him. I didn’t give my fearful self a chance to chicken out. I had also already made up my mind, that if such an announcement happened, that was gonna be my cue to ‘get in there’.

I was the 2nd to last person to read, received a lot of love from the audience (grateful & humbled), and guess what, came 2nd!

I was so almost a prime example of not making the most of every opportunity. Me, who just earlier this week was encouraging an intern with our project to “feel the fear and do it anyway“!

Feel free to take from this what you will. I’m super glad I went, took the opportunity, and have a number of things to show for it. Including this blog post : )

* If your interested in hearing the poem, you can watch a video recording via either or these links:

    I Am‘ (instagram)
    I Am‘ (facebook)