On January 13th, 2006 – 10 years ago today – my life changed.
I didn’t realize it at the time, which is how many major things happen, I suppose.
Less than a week before, Ruthanne told me she had read an article about a poetry show that she wanted to check out. A friend and co-worker (Nadine Thornhill) was also going to go.
I agreed to go. I had no specific interest in the show, but she was interested so I was willing.
The event was at a (now long gone) bar on Bank called the Gap of Dunloe. The show was called Capital Slam.
There was a good crowd but we got there early enough to get a table near the front. A lot of people buzzing about were ones I would get to know quite well, many of them as friends, but at the time, I had no idea.
I don’t know who was working the door, but it wasn’t Danielle Gregoire. It was the one show she missed in the first few years of the shows existence. Lisa Slater came by the table with white boards and Nadine quickly jumped at the chance to be a judge.
Then the poetry started.
I don’t remember the names of everyone I heard that night. I do know that the slam was won by Jim Thomas. Nathanael Larochette (later known as Sir Realist), made his slam debut. The feature was a young woman with a guitar… but I don’t recall her name. (The SECOND CapSlam I attended featured Magpie Ulysses.)
I DO remember being annoyed about something the host said on stage. It wasn’t anything important but it prompted me to write my first spoken word poem. (It was terrible, but hey, it led to a next one… and then a next one…)
On the way out we made a mental note to attend the next show we heard plugged on stage – it was a coffee house show hosted by Jessica Ruano and featured Kevin Matthews.
The other thing I did on the way out was pick up a copy of their CD – Live at Capital Slam 2005.
I listened to that CD a lot. I recognized the name Steve Sauve as the scorekeeper at that first show, and his 3-part poem on the album changed my perception of poetry. The Kevin Matthews pieces (The Love Song of Roy G. Biv and Bush Voter), made me want to be one of these amazing artists who opened their hearts, minds, and mouths and let beauty (even ugly beauty) pour out.
I wanted this in a way I hadn’t wanted something in quite some time. It wasn’t about winning or being a champion or any of that. I just wanted to create and share. This gave me an avenue of expression that I didn’t know existed before then.
So I started writing. And performing. And sharing. And I haven’t stopped.