Taking Time

“If it’s worth writing, it’s worth taking the time.”   reg e gaines

Sometimes the universe sends you a gift. One came my way this week when I had the chance to join a workshop with performance artist and virtuoso of the spoken word, reg e gaines. Being in a workshop with reg is like being in the presence of a quiet hurricane. What a wordsmith! What a teacher! What a performer!

Whenever I’m lucky enough to hear reg share his love of words and poetry, it drives home to me the joy and power of not just writing words, but speaking them. For reg, words on a page aren’t meant to stay bound to a piece of paper: they’re meant to break free – to sing and dance in time and space,to be shared in a moment of connection.

But speaking poetry – or prose – with power and conviction isn’t easy. Engaging an audience in the day of the digital isn’t easy. And finding your voice and polishing your performance like an actor isn’t easy. You have to be focused and dedicated.

You have to take the time – make the time. That’s exactly what a handful of gifted writers did at the storied Nuyorican Poets Cafe at reg’s workshop and performance evening. What a talented, intrepid band of writers I heard and learned with:

Isabella, a lovely, lyrical poet, only 15, with amazing poise and power.

Michael, who blossomed before our eyes as he soaked in reg’s suggestons.

Evan, who’s just starting to perform his work and has so much to say.

Mentor, a captivating poet with a biblical voice and delivery.

And reg, whose performance was a symphony of syllables – hard-hitting and whimsical.

Among reg’s tips for performing:

Engaging the audience, making them lean forward in their seats, that’s what you want.

“Don’t throw away the word” – make every word count.

“Image, efficiency, lyricality” – this is what you want to convey.

“Believe in this moment that you write as well as William Shakespeare. Think you’re William Shakespeare when you’re reading this.”

“Pay attention to your words – your words will tell you how to feel and what to do.”

What a wonderful evening – I learned so much! Let’s all take the time and write on!