I laughed so hard tears steamed down my face. One of my friends literately peed her pants. I could barely get the words out, I was so embarrassed and amused the first time I ever read my teen angst poetry to a crowd.
This happened way back in the year 2000. It was at a bar my best friend worked at in Calgary called The Newt. They had a small room upstairs where open mic events happened. I’d had the idea for TeenAngstPoetry.com the year before and that first reading was to celebrate the website launch. I think there were only a handful of us brave enough to share poetry and journals we’d written when we were younger. The crowd was primarily my friends and friends of friends.
I don’t know exactly how many Teen Angst Nights I’ve produced since then. Maybe 50? Maybe 100? It’s been a long time. I continue to be thrilled by this show and the people who are willing to dig through their old notebooks and find 5 minutes worth of material and share it with an audience.
This Thursday 9 people will be reading at Teen Angst Night for the very first time. I wonder if it will be as emotional an experience for them as it was for me.
They are in good hands. The audience that has grown over the years that attends the show is full of some of the most loving, supportive, and attentive I’ve ever encountered. They are there because they’ve bought into the concept already. 98% felt exactly the same way when they were teens. The other 2% are a few men that got dragged there by their girlfriends; they will say they never experienced teen angst.
I think Teen Angst Night continues to run because it’s about universal feelings of loneliness, sadness, and … well, angst. One of the main categories that I created when I started this whole thing is the “I am alone and no one understands my pain’ category. I remember being 15 years old and crying in my bedroom because my best friend wasn’t talking to me – I later found out that she was feeling exactly the same way. What Teen Angst Night has taught me, is that everyone does understand your pain, and that’s why it’s so brilliantly funny.
I hope you can catch the next Teen Angst Night tomorrow, July 17 at the Cottage Bistro from 8-10pm. It’s $5-10 at the door (we work on a sliding scale). Come grab a drink or some food – the readers will touch your heart and bring a smile to your face.