In the last week I have been struck by two almost throw-away comments made to me by friends.
The first, in discussing the role of a writer – particularly when it comes to things like readings and Open Mics – was the statement that “our job is to entertain”. I confess I’ve always struggled a little with Open Mics and how they relate to what I write, my style etc. Yet I also recognise they can be really important vehicles for getting one’s efforts ‘out’. I am reminded of Simon Armitage who, when reading, blends ‘crowd pleasers’ with more serious pieces, presumably with the aim of both entertaining and getting messages / points / emotions across.
So at this Thursday’s Write-on Ripon Open Mic (Curzon Cinema, 19:30), I’m going to try both. I’ve written a couple of pieces aimed squarely at the ‘entertain’ camp and intend to try those out..!
The second comment came from another friend during a conversation about working – in the sense of paid 9-to-5 work for commercial organisations (i.e. more for their benefit than yours). He said “you’ve got to live”. This comment wasn’t to simply confirm the responsibility to be alive, but rather the necessity to do as much with your life as you possibly could. “You’ve got to live” = make the most of your time, enjoy what you do, be satisfied and fulfilled etc.
In a way, always easily said but harder to execute. At least I feel I have been doing move ‘living’ over the past two or three years than for an awfully long time. Long may it continue!