On Friday night, I went to an open mic for the first time in years.
My first apartment in Boston was not actually in Boston, it was across the river in Cambridge..... and much like Cambridge is an eclectic sort of place, it so happened that I moved in with an eclectic group of roommates, one of whom hailed from California. She was here to pursue graduate study in opera singing, and in addition to working as an office manager in an architectural firm, was launching a pop band on the side.
I loved living with this roommate.
(All were great roommates, but the girls I especially loved living with and miss all the time.)
She is smart and spunky, and most of all she was (is still) working hard to pursue her dream of having a successful pop band. I used to go to all of her shows, open mics, cd release parties, and part of what was so special about it is that I knew her.
I knew the crappy ex-boyfriend that inspired the songs, and I understood what drove her to write a song about Sunday mornings, and I saw the blood, sweat and tears that came from trying to get this effort off the ground and I could see the joy in her eyes while she was singing, and the pride and exuberance on her face when they finished laying down the tracks for a new cd.
Because I *knew* her, it was a whole different type of dialogue between singer and listener. Song lyrics can make you very vulnerable if the people who are listening to them know you. After the show, a stranger will walk away and if you're lucky, they will have liked your music. For a friend, you have handed them the keys to heart, and you have to face them the next day with that knowledge. I feel very fortunate to have shared that with my roommate. It was a very special time in my life.
Those years had receded in my memory until last Friday night.
One of my most favorite people in the world was the featured artist at a local coffee shop, and while her art is poetry, it was the same sort of evening...
pre-show gathering with friends, laughter and munchies
getting ready for the show
arriving early to get the good seats
giggles and fun
talking into the wee hours
Anyone who has read her knows that Elisa has a gift for language. Her poetry was beautiful and painful and raw and true. But it was the courage with which Elisa shared her poetry with us, her friends, handing us the keys to her heart, her pain and her love, that was what made the night truly special.
Obligatory Knitting Shot:
Much progress made during the open mic. Finished it last night, all that's left is to Kitchener up the toe and cash on for number 2. Because the best knitting advice I've ever gotten was to immediately cast on for the 2nd one.
Unless you dig wearing mis-matched socks.