Fitting in (Crieff Writer’s evening/ literary open mic night)

It doesn’t matter how confident we are, sometimes we will inevitably feel like a round peg in a square hole (or a square peg in a round hole even). It’s a simple fact that we are all individuals and that even where a number of us find common ground someone will feel excluded.

Odly the barriers we hit aren’t always what we expect. Back when I was working on my MPhil thesis I came accross a study on second generation Portuguese immigrants in Paris who faced an unusual barrier.

When speaking French they sounded hip, urbane, youthful, and cultured. They spoke to contemporaries in Paris in this way and seemed to fit in comfortably.

However, their experiences of Portugal appeared so different that they sounded like genuinely different people.

You see, the Portuguese they knew came from their parents who spoke a rural and provincial dialect. This meant that their behaviour and speech in Portuguese simply couldn’t match the way they behaved when speaking French. Without the urbane, inner-city language they became very different and found it difficult to act like ‘themselves’ in Portugal.

What binds us can vary drastically, we might think that our tastes arethe simplest connection to share but sometimes we instead find kinship in our behaviours and aspirations. I found that last Saturday.

I had just completed a day of talking about the Jack Reusen books along at Fun Junction and remembered that there was a literary open mic night in the Strathearn Artspace 9as part of Crieff Arts Festival).

As a student I made it along to plenty musical open mic nights but I had never come across a literary one. To be honest it left me expecting something pretentious and a little clique-ish. I know Crieff already has a solid writers community so I couldn’t help worry whether I would fit in.

The atmosphere was extremely laid back, and the overall attitude from the audience was open-minded and welcoming. It meant that those reading for us were relaxed too and showed their work at its best.

The work itself was eclectic, including readings/performances of music, poetry, prose, and biography. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to and the only negative I could take from the night was a slight annoyance that I hadn’t prepared something to read.

I genuinely think we could make a monthly event of this (and not just because I’m itching for a chance to get up). I don’t know how we would go about it but I’d love to hear from others who might be interested.

Have you found a place that you fit in in surprising ways? Do you think creative environments are typically inclusive, or have you encountered clique-ishness in such groups?

As always thanks for reading, it means a lot to have people pop by to read these posts. All the best, John

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