Thursday, February 20, 2014

Almost the Oatmeal


Got to the Spokane Poetry Slam at the Lantern Tap House last Sunday.  The only other time I competed was six months ago.  It's good to be among writers.  It's less and less weird to be around people who know me as "Eighty Six".


Last time I felt I did great.  I delivered with strength from memory and only paused to remember once.  I entertained the crowd.  The judges, however, were not amazed.  I was one-tenth of a point from last place.  Now, at a Slam judges are chosen voluntarily from the audience.  Often they need to be pushed.  The sport prefers judges without much poetry experience or preconceived anything.

So you never take the numbers too seriously.

This time I finished two-tenths of a point out of third.  I did stumble a bit on my second piece.  Ironically, it was the one I thought I knew best: "She Scratch the Record".  My first piece was new and I was worried about that.

So a stumble kept me out of third.  Had I finished #3, I would have bumped the Slam points leader Chris Cook into fourth, scored one point myself and won third place prize.  First place was $50.  For second and third: a box of oatmeal.  Peaches & Cream and Apple Cinnamon, respectively.  My wife and kiddos eat Apple Cinnamon all the time. My sons would have probably preferred the oatmeal over $50, which is inedible.

Don't worry about us.  We still have oatmeal in the pantry.  Nobody's starving because I got excited and hurdled a couple of lines and had to back-track.

Yet, I would have liked the point.  I have a realistic chance of finishing in the top eight and therefore getting a shot at the finals in May.  A top four finish there would give me a chance to represent Spokane at the National Poetry Slam.  I just have to finish up strong.

Travis Naught took second.  Never anything wrong with finishing behind him.  Always funny, sharp and in touch with himself.

And Katie Laughlin just crushed it.  Both of her pieces successfully established a core metaphor and carried it through, with a balance of smart and sexy the way the crowd likes it.  Halfway through her second reading I though "yeah, she can beat me" before catching the second meaning.

Well, close but no oatmeal.

PS: Writing on the blog daily is nuts.  I can do it, but I'll write little else.  More important to me is finishing the Marcel story by July and finding another place to write about football.  I'll still be putting stuff here, but that rigid schedule I mentioned two weeks ago is out the window.