When I checked the email about the storytelling open mic on Monday, I caught the following request at the bottom: “Please no poetry or prose fiction.” Damn. I need to read my emails more carefully.
Up until this point, I had planned on reading one of the short stories I’ve written and revised for my fiction writing class. Bummed, I decided to bring the story anyway, figuring I could at least check to see if my eyes deceived me. They did not. Damn. Damn. Damn.
As I sat with my husband and my shitty beer, waiting for the other storytellers to begin, I grumbled about not reading the email diligently, putting on my best pouty face and hoping for some sympathy from my hubby. “Write a story now,” he said, as though life were that simple.
“I can’t,” I pouted.
“You’ve got fifteen minutes before they begin.” We sat in silence, me staring off into space, my husband staring at me. “Fourteen,” he chuckled.
“Damnit.” Apparently life is that simple.
I went to work constructing the details from a night when I was traveling in Naples, Italy. The owner of the hostel I was staying at took me for a ride on his “James Bond” Harley.
I jotted down the details of an adventure he took me on through Naples, our destination being a lookout that gave a full view of Naples and Mount Vesuvius.
My hands were shaking and my heart was in my stomach as I walked up to the mic. I knew I wanted to do this, but felt so unprepared, having written this piece in ten minutes. Thankfully the nature of this event is to try stuff out, the shitty first drafts, the loose idea that has yet to make it to page, the weird story that you think might be entertaining but aren’t sure. It’s all free game.
My story did land a few laughs, especially when I got to the part where we went up on the sidewalk and navigated through crowds of people, him screaming in Italian, me screaming “PEOPLE!”. Even though I finished the piece in under three minutes and I’m not entirely sure if it worked, I’m glad I at least attempted to make this risk happen. I could have very easily given up. Hell, I almost did.