Wednesday night was storytelling night at the Crofters Rights in Bristol - 'Let me tell you a story, Jack'.
I've only been able to go to this event a couple of times, just as a listener, but this time I took the plunge. I have never read anything out to an audience before, so of course I was absolutely terrified. I tried to play it down to myself though, just shrugging it off as no big deal and keeping myself busy at work all day to take my mind of it. My name was called and I managed to walk up to the microphone without falling over, then managed not to break the microphone stand, then managed not to waffle on and just read it. There were A LOT of eyes on me - must have been about 70 people I think.
I was unsure about taking part in storytelling to begin with as I wasn't sure I had the right sort of stage presence for it, if at all. I'm no actress so I'm rubbish at accents and putting on voices. So I'd chosen a story which didn't involve anything too taxing for Crofters Rights, and it was also one my less offensive reads!
So I started and just read and read. I didn't look up much, I wanted to but I was all too aware of all those eyes on me. I was also concerned with time as I didn't want to run on too long - we each had 5 minutes to stick to! But, a few people laughed at a few bits, then people clapped, and I don't think anyone booed, and I managed to get back to my seat safely without falling over or dying. I did it, and I could relax and enjoy the rest of the night and have a few wines. A few wines turned into rather a lot of wines in fact.
At the end of the night they gave out medals - one for a non-theme story and one for a themed story. Mine wasn't on their theme of Lies and Scandal, mine was about aliens (I guess maybe aliens are a bit scandalous though). Anyway, I WON! My first ever attempt at reading my story out to a crowd and I won a medal. Chuffed to blazers is an understatement.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole night. The organisers have done a wonderful job of making a well balanced night open to all creative people - stories, music, artists, everyone's welcome. I met so many other writers and really friendly, supportive people, and I felt welcomed into the storytelling 'scene'. It's a lovely, supportive community which I look forward to being a bigger part of.
Stokes Croft Writers are still on track for 'Talking Tales' - our own storytelling night - at Leftbank in Stokes Croft on 13th April, and I'm so excited! Be sure to Like our Facebook page for updates!