1. I’m terrified of public speaking. So I decided to drop by open mics in LA, jump in front of an audience, and read some poetry.
Stage fright is maybe the only thing I can depend on. I’ve had a sterile Korean-Catholic upbringing. I’m the youngest child of the youngest son on my father’s side. I come from the practice of shutting up. There’s no natural part of me that unveils, confides, and opens. But somehow, artists that meet their audience at eye-level profoundly inspire me. They’re available— available? —I guess that and tangible.
And I learned that reading out loud almost mimics praise (of language, of people, of memory). For me, that was powerful. Of course, I’m still a horrible reader: I go to the bathroom twice, I run out of saliva, I trip over the speaker cord, I talk way too fast, the hand holding the paper shakes, and my mouth is weirdly close to the microphone, but there’s a joy that I’m experiencing while reading to an alert public. It’s like allowing myself to feel consoled.