In May 2001, more than eleven years ago tonight, I walked through the door of an old train station turned art gallery where a weekly poetry series was held. Though I'd started writing poetry again (after quitting while in my early teens), I wasn't there to share any of it. It would take me awhile before I got up the nerve to do so. But I enjoyed listening to the other poet's works, and eventually became a "regular."
It changed my life. Over the years I went from being the woman who sat quietly over on the side, to reading, to performing, to hosting, to booking features, to pretty much running the series for a couple of years (which ended in Dec. last year). I'm no longer shy and afraid, though I still have major bouts of self-doubt. Duh. LOL.
I've half-jokingly called the series my "mental health night." Being able to write, and share some of it, helped get me through some dark times. I learned a lot about myself and about writing. Over the years I've had dozens of poems published and it was a poet-friend who gave me the nickname Erobintica, when I started venturing into the erotica world, after sorta kinda becoming known for my erotic poems.
Tonight is the last night of that series, though it's been in transition this whole year. I'm hosting and since it's been a bumpy transition, I'm not sure if I'm going to say anything or not. I may just introduce the feature, and later the open mike readers, and leave it at that. Most of the folks attending these days don't know the history of the series. And the series has been going much longer than I've been part of it.
I'm feeling waves of grief wash over me at random times. And it's not that I wish it weren't ending. I sense that it's been ending for several years. I jumped in and saved it once, partly out of my own need to have there be a place each week to go to. I let go at the start of this year because I wasn't sure when we'd be moving from here (and still aren't sure).
It's not like I'll be losing poetry. Last night I went to a wonderful reading and I'm still writing. But this is the end of something that I have already been missing.
There's that old when one door closes another opens saying that sometimes pisses me off to no end. Maybe because it's kinda true. It's just that it would be easier if we could see that next door. Usually we can't. Or we can but we're not sure if we're seeing the right door. Or we don't want to go through it. Or a thousand reasons for standing there like a deer in headlights.
The poetry world is funny. There's its cliques and critics and sad comedies. I have poet friends who aren't really talking with other poet friends. Usually over deeply held, though still-sometimes-petty reasons. I've always been the idealistic little child wanting diverse folks to see past their differences. The older I get though, the less hopeful I feel about that happening.
So, this afternoon I'm probably going to just read and take a walk and drink my beloved mocha.
Tonight, I'll hear the latch click shut on an era of my life. I wonder what the next door will open to.