I went to a “Roar -raw -slam -in your face”? poetry night last night and it was extremely good. The people who were brave enough to speak were energetic and engaging. It was full of young men and women from university who all have the world at their feet and for them anything is possible. In comparison I felt old, boring and frightened. I ordered a large Earl Grey cup of tea and had to wait half an hour for it to arrive and another half an hour until it was cool enough to drink. Because the place was so busy and I had to stand my legs started to hurt. I began to wonder if they would lock the front doors to my retirement home before I manage to get home.
But enough of that.
There seems to be huge numbers of talented writers, people who can capture the world in a poem or a short story, there seems to be endless numbers of people writing novels, submitting manuscripts and telling me that ‘I must write, writing is as important to me as breathing.’ So what chance do I have at making my novel a success? Is it all luck? You face the empty pages, the blank space is infinite, and you try to fill it with words all the while you know there are thousands of people out there with more talent, who work harder and who are hungrier for success than you are.
I had a great night — the poems were amazing and the performances were incredible. Next time they hold a poetry night I told myself, I will read one of mine. I will not read it with the energy and the charisma needed to win, but I will at least have a go.
I wish I had taken a photo of the night.
I want to share a short story of Ernest Hemingway’s which, although written years ago is still relevant to what is happening in the US today.
At two o’clock in the morning two Hungarians got into a cigar store at Fifteenth Street and Grand Avenue. Drevitts and Boyle drive up from the Fifteenth Street police station in a ford. The Hungarians were backing their wagon out of an alley. Boyle shot one off the seat of the wagon and one out of the wagon box. Drevitts got frightened when he found they were both dead.
“Hell Jimmy,” he said, “you oughtn’t to have done it. There’s liable to be a hell of a lot of trouble.”
“They’re crooks ain’t they?” said Boyle. “They’re wops ain’t they? Who the hell is going to make any trouble?”
“That’s all right maybe this time,” said Drevitts, “but how did you know they were wops when you bumped them off?”
“Wops,” said Boyle, “I can tell wops a mile off.”
-Ernest Hemingway In our time.
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It’s released on June 24th