A couple of weeks ago I approached the poetry community of Las Vegas, asking for help getting to open-mic nights, in exchange for gas/coffee money. I even put one of my phone numbers on the posts, so people could contact me privately, I know how weird poets can be. I haven’t heard a peep. Nothing. And you know what? Fuck them. Fuck their slams and their competition and their one-race slam team and their clique-ishness. At first I was really hurt. I took it very personally.
Then I made a choice. Do I want to piss around with open-mic nights, or do I want to actually perform? Faced head on with this question, it’s easy: I want to perform. I don’t want to sit and wait my turn to read a poem. I want to get up on stage and own it. Years ago, I was invited to bring my spoken word act to a place in town called the Bunkhouse Saloon. I didn’t have an act at the time, and I didn’t realize what an opportunity I was passing up. Now they are under different management, and I will be cold-contacting them with a CD and a letter to try to get some stage time.
And I don’t even want to get paid for it. I want to get up on stage. I want to hold an audience in the palm of my hand, raise them and lower them with my words and my stories. That’s what I really want, so why would I piss around with the teen-age ritual of open-mic night? I’m past that. I can see bigger things. And I can have them. If Henry Rollins can get paid to tour the country and talk, I can certainly do it for free for a while on a local level.
I’m just so tired of waiting. Even though I don’t at all feel my age, I am cognizant that other people are all to aware of it, and how high the number is. I feel like I’m running on borrowed time because I’m already older than most of the people in the “scene”. So it’s time to move this shit and do this thing.
Okay, so that’s settled. I just have to build up some stories, practice a little bit and then record an audition CD. Then, write up a letter of introduction, and mail the fuckers out to every cafe and “alternative” club in the city. Again, I have nothing to lose by doing this, and every possible thing to gain. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner, really. Just put an act together of several stories/anecdotes, make notes on them for performance, nothing to memorize, no hassle, just record it and get ready to stand up on stage.
Yeah, I can handle this shit, I’m done waiting. I’ve finally figured out how to have what I want. Now I’m going to go get everything I want, if that’s okay with everyone.
And if money comes with it, well, I’ll let Doc deal with the math. I’ll be my own agent/manager. What they do isn’t so hard. If you keep your head about you, you don’t need all those other people hanging around to get in your way.
Speaking of which . . . I have to say it, this is brought on by the break-up with Kelli. She has been undermining my inspiration for a very long time. She never encouraged me, and I was okay with that, I didn’t need a cheerleader. I wanted a friend. But the last couple of years, she has actively discouraged me and actually talked me out of some of my ideas. And she was my most beloved person, my most trusted. I figured if she was discouraging me, it meant that she knew I couldn’t do it, and was trying to save me from failing. Of course I did. She was my best friend, that would be what she would do.
But lately, she has been putting down my ideas that have been going over gang-busters with the public, and she is still trying to discourage me. The more I succeed in this stuff I’m doing, the more she insults my work. And I was doing things, and making it work, and she was still discouraging.
Yeah, it hit me that was unhealthy. I was letting her hold me back because I trusted her implicitly to have my best interests at heart. And she didn’t. I don’t know when she turned, I don’t know what happened that made her finally alienate the last person she had on this earth, but I had to walk away. I want to reach higher, I don’t have time for people trying to grab and pull my hand back. That may suck, but that is reality. I have to do what is best for me. I am the only person that I am responsible for, and I am the only person I am accountable to. I have to be able to explain to myself, at the end of the day, why I made certain decisions and took certain actions. No one else. So fuck you if you’re going to hold me back. It is so past time that I stand up and earn what I want. I don’t want to be told that I can’t because I am sick.
I don’t want to hear that I’m not a real artist because I wasn’t schooled. Or that I’m not a real writer because I’m not getting paid to do it. I don’t have time for that bullshit. It’s over, people. I’ve finished waiting and smiling quietly while everyone else does their thing. I’m doing my thing now.
If I have to take an Uber alone to a venue and sit by myself backstage, that’s okay. I think I’m ready to do that.
All I can think of right now is standing in a spotlight, talking, laughing, sharing. All I want is that. There is room in this city for every kind of performer, I think Vegas and I were made for each other. I think this is going to be a snap.
Two stories, a short opinion piece, and maybe a poem. Make a 15 minute audition CD to send out, and see what kind of reaction I get. I mean really, I’ve been at rock bottom for so long . . . there is literally no where to go but up.