Last night was a lovely summer-like evening. David and Sarah walked with me to The Heartland Cafe. I mentioned that it's a little piece of San Fran. It's not just a cafe with an open mic venue. It's also a bar and a small store selling fair trade items, socialist and feminist books, and handmade jewelry. I adore it.
We arrived way too early. The website said it started at 9pm, which I thought was pretty late. Especially since I had to get up around 6am this morning. It didn't start until 10pm. A few new friends stopped by and we talked over hard ciders, but they had to leave before it was my turn. They didn't call my name until after 11pm. That's a long time for the nerves to build tension. By ten-thirty, I had a mild buzz, I was sleepy, and my insides were doing cartwheels.
Sarah had selected a short chapter for me to read. She thought it encapsulated much of what the book is about, without giving too much away. David thought I should talk a little about it and my website. I didn't know what to say. There were bright lights and a microphone. From the stage, I couldn't even see the audience. I really wanted to run for it. (But I knew David wasn't going to let me chicken out.)
So, I just dove into the story. I read slowly. I had practiced a few times and had it practically memorized. I said thank you when I finished and tried not to run back to my seat. I think there was applause.
Sarah and David said I did quite well and the audience seemed to like it. They said the clapping was genuine and not just polite. I couldn't tell.
Walking back home after 12:30am, I started breathing normally again. Sarah asked me how I felt. I didn't know.
Today, I've had a huge Vitamin Water energy drink just to make it through the workday. Maybe I'll do this again. I just need to find an open mic that starts earlier. Maybe on a Friday or Saturday night when I can sleep in the next morning. We'll see.
Thanks for all of the lovely messages and mental thumbs-up that you've sent. I really felt all of you there with me. :)