As part of my re-assimilation back into London without losing my literary momentum, my former classmate, Tessa, and I found ourselves part of the live storytelling event, Spark London, at Hackney Picturehouse. We hadn't planned on getting on stage, we were just there to soak up the scene, but seeing as only 3 people signed up to do the show, the host made his rounds, going to every table and politely putting on the pressure.
The theme of that night's show was 'Lost' and luckily I'd just been editing a story of mine that fit the theme. So I agreed to get up on stage and do my first storytelling event- which meant I would not be reading off paper- it would be live, raw and awkward.
I quickly reviewed the story on my phone, trying to memorize key points or good lines or . . . actually, how do storytellers do this sort of thing? I had started looking into taking a storytelling class while I was in NYC but then of course my visa came through and I had to leave the country.
As my name was called out and I approached the stage, I realized that I needed to learn this the same way I learned to read on that creaky little stage at the Bodega Wine Bar in Brooklyn, by just getting up there and doing it.
The crowd was pretty sparse so it was hard to judge the general feeling towards my story's content and the style of my telling, but I at least seemed to amuse the host of the event.
Tessa took paparazzi shots of me and I later posted one on facebook and watched it fill up with comments from my literary lunatics in NYC, asking how I did, what I read and how London is while filling me in on changes to our scene in NYC.
While I haven't found my London Bodega-style stage just yet, I did end up meeting some other writers that night and that's how it all begins. And if I don't find that stage I'm looking for, well, we might just have to make our own.