I asked a local poet for some help as far as finding readings and open mics.
What a wake up call. He pointed some out to me - after telling me that basically, I'm an amateur, I'd never sell a single book, though I might get some good advice from a kindly poet who wanted to offer me some.
He said "There is a much higher level of writing already in place around here." As if A.) I totally suck and B.) I'm trying to take over the Charlotte poetry scene. I just want to participate.
OK. The truth is, he's right. I am a beginner. I'm completely clueless to the local scene. I have no idea what's "popular" around here. I'm trying to accept his opinion for what it is, an objective opinion of my work, which I don't get often. And a bit of inside advice from someone who is experienced in my local scene - a decent gauge of what the overall crowd reaction may be. And I'm also trying to remind myself that his opinion is only 1 opinion, and that poetry is subjective, so I'm sure there will be some who DO enjoy my poetry.
And (yes people I'm trying to justify my existence) he's a he, and the poetry in this chap is seriously more effective for the female reader. I wonder if the local poets and poetry fans are more male or female? Most likely female, right? I mean... Right?
I am so stressed out about this damn chapbook! It's supposed to be an accomplishment, something that should make me feel better about myself, but damn it, that email exchange sure took the wind right out of me.
And all I know to do is go to a reading, listen, check out the crowd and gauge their reaction firsthand. Maybe get on stage and humiliate myself, but if I don't I'll never know right? I don't want to live with this great big huge regret, based on the opinion of one person, do I?
Christ I hope he isn't at my first open mic reading.