When the moment came for me to read I was anxious, began reading too soon, stumbled over the title a little and began to spit out the first line. At this point, I was sure, it was obvious that I was an impostor.
But then I looked up. And they were listening. Everyone in the room was listening. They were listening as if I belonged there, lil’ old me reading a poem about my grandma among eloquent writers with profound words. They were listening as if it didn’t make a difference whether it was my first time or my fifth time reading at Litquake, as if it didn’t matter whether this poem was from my third collection or only the second I’d ever had published. They were listening as if this was my only chance to show why I was there on that stage, and it was, and I did. I read, and they listened.
I’m extremely honored to have been included among the bunch of talented writers that read that night. Sam Sax, Tatyana Brown, Scott Lambridis, to name a few. They took my breath away, then expected me to find it again and read after they did?
Okay, so I managed, I grabbed the moment and rode it and enjoyed every minute of it, even with my legs shaking, and even feeling like I was an impostor infiltrating these accomplished writers’ space.
I’m immensely thankful that there was room for me in the space. I’m thankful for the chance to bring myself, to bring poetry about my grandmother and memories of Trinidad, pieces of my family’s history and of my identity. We belonged there, I knew. That is, me and my family, those connected by blood and by shared stories, belonged there telling our tales, and I love the chance to share my family with those who might not have heard our stories elsewhere. I feel like I brought something to the world.
This feeling is addictive. I already want more.