Our local open microphone is one of the many that is organized by a writers group. That organization provides a different Guest Reader at each monthly gathering of performers. Picture the scene:
|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #28|
This stranger in a strange land, looking like a hog at a luau, seeks out the comfort and safety of the organizers. They aren't hard to spot, being the only ones who seem to care who comes through the door. These greetings attract some attention from the villagers, who realize that this must be the bearer of the 15-minute commercial message that forms the preamble and price of their participation. Shrugs all around.
The event finally begins with the Master of Ceremonies telling the crowd that they about to witness the second coming of William Shakespeare. Little does anyone suspect the reference is to the William Shakespeare who played halfback for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #25|
Whereas the readers are cloned (i.e. bookworms presenting lineated journal writing) in some local laboratory, the open mikers range from slammers and street poets busting [gasp!] rhymes to droners, corazoners, dramatists, and formalists of all levels of sophistication. By the time the compère ends the proceedings something has become obvious: the two groups are caught in different eddies.
|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #68|
Care to guess how many of the 50 Guest Readers I've seen in the last 5 years return? How many have shown any interest in developing the most basic skill in their craft? 40 out of 50? 25? 10? A mere 5?
How about zero? That's right. None. Some are so afraid of actually learning something that they leave before the open mic finishes. Not surprisingly, they continue producing and recommending stuff that has no audience appeal. One wonders why someone with no interest in poetry, least of all his own, wastes so much time trying to write and promote it.
In "Star Trek Generations", the villain, Doctor Tolian Soran, played by Malcolm McDowell, is dislodged from the "Nexus"--a timeless, addictive pleasure zone--and wants to go back.
Unlike any Guest Reader, the open mikers have--however briefly--held audiences enraptured. They have been to the Nexus.
And want to go back.
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