Fear of the Mic


Busy is four letter word. Its almost vulgar when I use it because it describes so many things that are going on in one word. Saying “I’m busy” can sound rude but it will always explain why I don’t call or write. Yet, after awhile I hate using this phrase because I think that eventually it becomes a cop out. However, I have been able to do a few things here and there that has made me think about my role as writer/author.

It shouldn’t be too much of a secret that I do not really consider myself a poet. I believe that history will show that I’m more of a fiction novelist. Poems were something that I wrote to get through some tough times in my life and it turns out I wrote more than a hundred of them. I go back in forth, in my head, about want to do about this. Do I publish them or just keep them where they are (which is buried in various blog sites)?

I personally don’t believe they are very good. Well, maybe a small number of poems are decent, but I am certainly no Willie Perdomo. Yet, the way I feel about this did not stop me from reciting one of my poems during a open mic night a few weeks ago (I prefer the word recite instead perform because performance poetry is above my pay grade, but I digress). I can blame it on the energy of the other true poets doing their thing that night but the real reason is that, in my heart, I need to learn to love the mic.

Sure, I can speak publicly. I’ve done it enough times to be used to it. I’ve done enough trainings with hundreds of students in a room, I’ve been a keynote speaker twice, I’ve moderated many panel discussions, and yet the intimidation of reading something I’ve written is real. Even when I did the book signing/reading at La Cas Azul Bookstore of Hanging Upside Down last year I felt so anxious. What if I fumble my words? What if I sound like a complete idiot?

This is when I know the fear has gotten a hold of me. With my poetry it is two fold considering that I don’t consider myself a poet. But, I did go out there that night and recited Blacktino. The feedback was positive and while I messed up just a little, I think I can do this again. The real problem is that its way too easy to decline an invitation or to simply claim that I’m too busy to go to open mic nights. Even if being too busy is true (and most times it is) I know that I have to get behind that mic.

It does feel good to share my creation, particular in poetic form. If you read the right poem with the right inflections, the room becomes yours. Maybe the real fear isn’t just the mic itself nor the the audience. Perhaps the real fear is the ability to let myself go on the stage. Is the fear there because I don’t know how to let go or is it because of the possibility that if I do learn to let myself go I may love it way too much.

So, is this what Rakim was talking about about when he says, to me M.C. means move the crowd? That’s a question you should ask yourself, Megatron. 🙂

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