At 10pm last night I was beginning to worry about whether or not I would be able to make it to the reading scheduled for this morning. I was feeling unwell, on top of which it looked like there would be only a couple of readers, and with a handful more attending. I opened up a search engine to look for pieces that fit the theme, to be distributed to random members of the audience to read in the event that there wasn’t enough original work. Immediately, I felt frustrated — spoken word organizer? Try schoolteacher. We’ve had a dozen readings so far and if I’m still going to have to beg/bully people into reading, I would rather do it in a workshop setting than at an open mic. I messaged my co-organiser to ask if they could carry on with the reading if I couldn’t make it.
By 2am, I knew for sure I could not make it. When I messaged Chandrachoodan again, he replied that he was still stuck with office work at that time. The reading had to be off.
So we got in touch with people who had rsvp-ed and let them know.
It seems that a few people messaged Chandrachoodan in the morning to ask about the reading, messages he didn’t see till late afternoon.
All this brings up something very important. These are very small events. There is no reader/audience divide because nearly everyone who comes winds up reading. They are not events to go to if one is simply interested in being entertained — we have not come to a large enough rate of attendance for that to happen. These events happen only if there is interest and support in them. Interest and support means a variety of things: it begins with rsvp-ing. This is to let the organisers know that there are sufficient numbers to hold the event. It is also so that in case of cancellation (this is the first time this has happened) or change of plans, there’s a list of people who should be notified.
This is a fledgling scene and it will fail without support. Every open mic is a struggle (at least, for me. You can ask around about the forehead vein I sported all through Madras Week). Yet, they are fun and rewarding — they are worth having.
Let’s say that all the people who wanted to come had rsvped. It would mean there would have been that many people to disappoint. Grief arrests you in moments you don’t expect it to; if I had known so many people cared about the open mic, I would have pulled myself together and not given in to it. But you can’t disappoint people if you aren’t aware that they have expectations.
I apologise for the fact that the reading did not go on as scheduled. I would like to promise that there will be many more. That, however, will depend on you.