Thursday, February 25, 2010

Open Mic???

photo courtesy of mrgilles

I know this post is probably going to draw some backlash, but that's never stopped me in the past, so.... have at it.

I have a dirty little secret. It keeps me awake at night, and I hate myself for it. I've tried to change, to be more open, but I just can't do it.

I hate open mic events.

You know what they are, right? Usually a coffee house setting, where people sit around and drink java or cappuccino or hoity toity tea and listen as amateur poets, writers or singers stand on stage or sit on a stool and perform. Reminds me a bit of Maynard G. Krebs in Dobie Gillis. Okay, you may be too young to get the reference, but it worked for me.

The thought of sitting in an audience listening to an amateur read his or her work sends shivers up my spine. I'd rather have a root canal. And I've had a root canal, so I know of what I speak.

I believe open mic nights are the literary equivalent of Karaoke, only without the alcohol. I kind of even understand Karaoke. Enough rum and Coke and I might even be persuaded to get out and belt out my version of I've Got You Babe. On second thought, I don't think there is enought rum in the whole world to make me to that.

There are generally a couple of types of people who read at those sorts of functions. The ones whose work is boooooring and they just like to hear themselves talk. So we, the audience, sit and twiddle our thumbs and pray for a power outage.

Then you get the ones whose work is really good, but they can't read worth a damn. Why ruin a good story by reading it aloud. Just pass me the paper and let me read it. That's how I absorb best anyway. If you are an open miker, I'm sorry, but it's just my opinion

Blame it on my childhood if you like, maybe my mother read to me too much or didn't read enough. Or school, blame it on my teachers and professors for subjecting me to hours of lecture. Or just blame it on me. I hate to be read to.

I love words. I love paper and I especially love words on paper.

So what do you think of Karaoke Open Mic events?


BECKY said...

Tricia, you are so funny! You're certainly entitled to your opinion! I've only been to 3 or 4 Open Mic Events, so I really am not an authority on the subject. But, I will say this. I think I only read one time (at a nice, quiet coffee house) and when people "got it" and laughed at the right places, gave me a thrill. BUT, I also know how to read my work out loud! :)
Then, there were the times I attempted to listen in a very noisy bar/restaurant and I couldn't hear a word being said. No fun...left early. And then finally, another time I had to endure an overly dramatic reading, which caught me totally by surprise. I had to look around the room, searching faces, trying to decide if it was a comedic or serious reading! So, you're not alone! I think Open Mics can make many people feel a little "iffy"!

K9friend said...

I have to agree, mostly because I'm a such a visual person. When able to attend critique, I'm better off stopping up my ears and just READING the darn thing!

irishoma said...

Hi Tricia,
You bring up some excellent points. I have mixed feelings about open mic events. I've been to some good ones where the readings have inspired and uplifted me. Others have been a waste of time.
The ones that bother me are when writers or poets don't care if their stuff is poorly written or offensive, they just blast away without any concept of time or audience reaction.
One I attended was a combination performance/reading event. After a few of the performers did their thing they left very noisily before others got to read, wich was rude, while others were there just for the free food.
Personally, I'm not a great reader and don't like to read in front of a group, but sometimes I get guilted into doing it. That's when I can feel my face flush the longer I read. But I figure the only way to get better is by practicing.

Flory said...

Hi! Found you from thewritehelper.

I've never been to an Open Mic, but it must take a lot of confidence, and/or courage to get up in front of strangers and read out loud something you wrote.

Writer Chick said...

Flory, I totally agree. I've never had a problem speaking to groups (as long as I know what I'm talking about.) But I also know when to relinquish the floor. Also I think I'm more of a visual person, so having someone read to me, doesn't do it for me.

Thanks for stopping by... And don't you love The Write Helper?


愛控 said...
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Anonymous said...

Tricia, I'm with you on this one. I have gone to open mics to support my friends, some of whom are really good and deserve to be heard, but in truth I would rather read their work myself. And I never, ever read at open mics. And of course, as you said, there are those readers who really would be better off at home honing their writing skills--or--those whose work is good, but because they got a mild reaction from the audience while reading the first piece, feel compelled to hog the mic for the next half hour. Good blog post. I admire your courage for putting it out there.

Anonymous said...

Tricia, I'm with you on this one. I have attended open mics to support my friends, some of whom are very good, but I'd rather read their work myself. And of course, there are always those readers who would be better off at home honing their writing skills...and those who think because they got a mild reaction from the audience after reading their first piece that everyone wants to listen to them read five more. Good post! I admire your courage for putting it out there.