The Good Kind of Dorky


Friday, November 02, 2007


If October was the month for nostalgia then certainly November is the month for inspiration, what with all of this blogging and challenging ourselves to write everyday. Last night Edgar and I went to a coffeehouse in Richmond called Common Groundz to support our friend Danny who is the founder of a spoken word/slam poetry group. Danny was the emcee for the slam poetry competition and he invited Edgar and me, along with three other people, to judge. Spoken word is not my favorite form of poetry and I am quite sure that I would be horrible at it, but I respect the form and have an appreciation for the performance aspect of it. Since I do have a background in poetry (and I am using "background" loosely), I was confident in Danny's choice.

Midway through the competition, as I was drawing cute little smiley faces next to the score on my yellow Post-It notes (sophisticated system, I know), it became clear that Edgar and I were the Paula Abduls of the group. Sure opposites attract, but last night we were completely on the same page. There were three contestants, three rounds and we gave each performance a score between 1 and 10 and could use decimals up to one decimal place. Five judges, therefore 50 was the highest possible score per round, per contestant, get it? One contestant got a 23 and 16 of those points came from Edgar and me. Maybe I would have been a little more harsh if this competition was a serious thing, but it was mostly just for fun--the prizes were a $1, $5 and $10 bill, respectively. This brings me to another point--I am not a good judge. And I am not claiming that I don't judge people (Sarah stop judging me). What I am admitting to you is that my judging skillz are riddled with bias in certain situations. I pride myself on the fact that I generally am, or try to be, a diplomatic and fair person; however, when two of the contestants are men and one is a gestating woman, all of my rationale pretty much takes two steps forward and two steps back. The woman did end up winning thanks to me, but she clearly needed the win more--$10 buys more diapers than the alternatives. On a side note, I totally think pregnant women should be allowed to participate in the Miss America Pageant--I'll even volunteer to be a judge!

Edgar and I had a great time at the poetry slam and were glad we did something different and on a Thursday night too! GASP! Being in that environment really inspired me to want to get back into writing poetry. If I had to pay you $10 for each time I said that and didn't follow through, you'd be able to diaper your baby for a year (or buy Britney Spears' new CD Blackout for all of your friends). There are a few reasons I think I haven't taken the initiative to get back into writing poetry. I get lazy or promise myself to do it tomorrow, I get caught up with other things and forget, or I don't feel inspired, but mostly I'm afraid that I won't be as good as I used to be. I get frustrated thinking about being frustrated. Ironically, the thing I love most about the poetry writing process is working on one line for hours and hours and get frustrated to all hell, but then finally getting it right. Finishing, I mean really finishing a poem satisfies me like nothing else can. That is why I love writing poetry. It satisfies my soul and inspires my life just as much as my life inspires it. And yet I deprive myself because deep down I'm afraid to admit that it's okay if I never accomplish my high school self's goal of being a published poet just as long as it is makes me happy now. I'm not depriving the world of my work, I'm depriving myself of the one God-given talent I think I have (because it sure as hell ain't singing), regardless of whether or not I am not good enough to be published. So this weekend I am going to sit down, preferably at my local Barnes and Noble, and write. It may not be good enough to share with the world, but damn it, it will be inspired.


  • At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Erin said…

    I didn't know you were a poet! My husband is a poet. He's actually working on his MFA in Poetry right now.

  • At 7:10 PM, Blogger L Sass said…

    Go for it!! I've always loved to write fiction, and I have no thought of becoming published, but I still enjoy writing just for me.

  • At 1:17 PM, Anonymous audrey said…

    Three things:
    1. You should post some of your finished poems here.
    2. Good luck writing this weekend.
    3. Way to incorporate my favorite word into this post.

  • At 6:22 PM, Blogger Carrie said…

    Do you realize that you just inspired another person because you were inspired? Kinda contagious. Now I want to work on that story I was writing.


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