So, on Thursday it was my birthday and I celebrated with a share-out-loud picnic. It was one of my friends’ ideas. Or rather they had suggested that we have the picnic and that I entertain people with my poetry. That seemed a little too ‘me, me, me’ for my liking and so I altered the plan slightly so that others were invited to share something of their own – a poem, a story, a joke – anything, just so long as it could be ‘shared out loud.’ I’m so glad I did for as well as finding the confidence to share some of my own creations and getting some lovely support and appreciation there, I was also fascinated by what everyone else had to share, particularly those who had shared their own work. It seemed that there were more people in exactly my situation – people who wrote and wrote furiously and copiously … and then didn’t quite know what to do about it.
The gentle invitation to share something that ‘could be a piece of your own writing’ but didn’t have to be, seemed to allow people that freedom to do so and really, what was unearthed was an absolute treasure trove. Among the offerings one friend had even written some poems especially for the occasion and revealed that behind claims not to be much of a writer there lurked a humour, a warmth, an unmistakable style. Another friend offered a synopsis of not one but two plays she had written. There were poems that revealed the rough edges of smooth characters, that shouted loud the quiet whisperings of their soul and as the evening drew to a close, I was left wondering not what on earth had made me do it, as I had feared might be the case but what on earth had taken me so long. For my part I shared three poems – chosen at random and in the moment:
1) Flame – about how an ex lover can mellow into a calming presence as you both mature
2) Not the Messiah – an angry rant about someone with delusions of grandeur who clearly thinks they are
3) Mourning Wood – a surreal and satirical ditty about a man consumed with lust induced by funerals and the paraphernalia of grief
I feel that in those few hours on the beach with the backdrop of a stunning sunset and the embers of a burning Harvest Moon, we truly had created a circle of trust. I feel buoyed by the experience, keen to share more and to hear more and to read and discuss and fall in love with whatever people are kind enough to share of their own.
It was a privilege. The perfect birthday gift.
I have mooted the idea of a repeat performance some time in the not-too-distant future for interested parties – an idea that has been met with enthusiasm. At least part of my puzzle of when to share my work, with whom and how has been solved and I feel like this is just the beginning.