In 2009, we showcased at NACA Nationals and broke the record for the highest booked poetry act with 169 bookings. It was INSANE and it kept me on the road for a solid 2 years.
Earlier this year, we showcased at NACA Nats again. We killed our showcase. It had music, it had video visuals...it was flawless. I've never put on a perfect performance like I did that day. And again we broke the record...
We booked TWO shows. That has to be a record for the least anyone has ever booked at a conference of about 400 schools.
Bruh. TWO. I didn't talk about it much except to a few people and for a very long time felt like...maybe I'm not as good as I thought I was. What was the feedback we got? We were told it was TOO emotional. The consensus being that students cried the entire time and it was too heavy of a set. My ONLY silver lining to the whole thing was talking to Andrea Gibson who told me they get the same feedback at NACA conferences and they never do well at those either. And for a poet I admire, that lets me know it's not just us.
This fall, we have two conferences coming up. We get to showcase for 10 minutes. This time though, instead of trying to choose 3 poems that would give us the best set without being too heavy, I decided fuck it, I'm gonna write a 10 minute poem.
That's right. 10 minutes. It'll have comedy, inspiration, good storytelling, the whole nine. It'll give them a glimpse of who we are and what we stand for and our versatility.
But here's where I'm at: when I fail, I know it's on me. I learn from those mistakes and I always move on and try to fix said mistakes. I brush it off and keep going.
But how do you respond when your last attempt was the best you could give and it still failed? How do you not take that with you to your next performance and have it lingering in the back of your mind? How do I not go into these next showcases without thinking about how well we did last time only for it to result in two bookings?
Jessica told me she didn't agree. She said I may have done my best the last time but she said my best is still inside me. She said there's still more inside me waiting to come out.
I truly hope so. Or maybe I just need to stop worrying about that and do the work. Give everything always because we love what we do and not because we search for validation of our skills. So I'm gonna go back to memorizing this long ass poem. I'll give it everything I got like I always do and let the work take over from there.