I don’t even know where to start with last night. I’m in Virginia, a fellow at an artists residency, where sometimes we share what we’re working on. Visual artists have open studios, composers play either live or recorded original music, and writers have readings. Last night, I read from my memoir-in-progress, Terrible Daughter, sharing the stage with another writer.
It went really well! I truly enjoy reading my work for an audience. It was gratifying to hear that people enjoyed it. If you’re a writer and the open-mic thing scares you, take the leap and try it anyway. It’s okay to be scared. This is the only way writers can get immediate feedback and engagement with their craft. And the writing doesn’t have to be perfect or even polished to be a good read.
After the reading, a photographer showed her beautiful, mostly black and white photography. Stunning work. We loved it!
Then I pulled out my deck of Literary Witches Oracle Cards and did past/present/future readings for anyone who was interested. It was amazing and I loved it. I was loving everything!
Then, because it was someone’s birthday, someone fired up a karaoke app (which I did not know was a thing you could do and I totally need this app) and singing ensued. Someone else made a bucket, yes, a bucket of margaritas, complete with a side plate of salt, a ladle was located, and partying began in earnest.
Then we got reprimanded for making too much noise after quiet hours. This is the part where I remind you the we are all Very Serious Artists who are here to Make ART.
And THEN, around midnight, just as I was packing up some leftover wine before walking to my studio, the air raid siren went off. I don’t know if any of you live in communities with air raid sirens and/or grew up during the cold war, but my first thought was: NUKES. I knew it. I knew it’d be nukes in the end.
But not nukes. A tornado warning. So people went knocking on doors, waking up the fellows who had already turned in, and we all crammed into the basement area with the ping pong table and old boxes and dust aplenty. Someone brought the margarita bucket.
And we waited out the tornado watch for about a half hour. Then most of us went back to bed, though I think some quiet partying may have continued.
So what’s my point? What’s my great revelation from my exhausting but highly enjoyable evening except for almost-tornado? I thought by the end of this post I’d have figured it out.
I think I want to say that art brings people together in unexpected ways. That hanging out with artists nourishes me differently but just as significantly as writing. That sharing what we create is a privilege for us, but also a gift for those with whom we share it. I can’t think of a better catalyst for any kind of gathering or party. Or even basement-dwelling tornado-escaping with bonus margarita bucket.
P.S. I know someone out there is thinking BUT COVID so I’ll just say that we’re required to be vaccinated and masked indoors. Unless we were singing or taking sips of a drink, we were masked.