Spotlight on Friday, where I had been asked to take a ten minute slot. I like the monthly event - a friendly audience, a wild mix of work/performers and it's local.
It's very much a known event. I've performed all sorts of work there - solo, with my old collaborative trio 3dV, as Hymas & Lewis, straight, big, old and new. So it took me by surprise to feel so nervous. I'm not sure why since I always feel nervous before getting onto a stage. I thought at first it was when I had memorised work, for the obvious fear of forgetting stuff. But latterly it seems to be for whatever I do.
In part Friday's nerves were down, I'm sure, to my decision to read new work. I find it very useful (if challenging)for the editing process to take work to an audience. There is a new 'collective' ear brought to each poem.
I wonder if a part of me (the bloody clever clever subconcious me) recognises the value in having this anxiety (the flip side of excitement, after all): to prevent complacency, sharpen my ears, insure a connection with the audience - not to take for granted the position of telling people my work - and to hold each poem carefully as it deserves as it's being told. Basically, it seems, there is no getting away from the fact nerves serve the energy of my performance. It's a shame the experience is akin to swallowing staples.
I gave, what I considered to be, a quiet rendition, fairly stationary, so I could best hear the new work. People listened. I listened. I changed some poems mid-recitation. I stepped off the stage ultimately happy with the experiment, relieved, looking forward to the next one.