Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Free music, poetry and comedy with a cup of tea

Last night, I did not work.

I did not write.

I did not do laundry.

I did not do research.

I did not apply for jobs or brainstorm articles.

I did not even cook.

Last night, I sat curled up in a chair at a local coffee house, a cup of hot Chai on the table in front of me, my little daughter curled up in the arm chair across from me, a new friend next to me, my older daughter a few feet away busy on my laptop, and I enjoyed local musicians, stand up comics, poets and actors. We sat there from about 8 pm until closing at 11. Drank tea or hot chocolate. And listened.

The performances were amazing. Such incredible talent. And they were performing for us, the audience, sitting in a small coffee house. I was overcome with the sheer joy of it.

For more years than I care to recall, I lived in rural Pennsylvania, where events such as this never happened. Where coffee houses served coffee, and closed before 9 pm. Without music (except the canned variety), comedy or poetry. And I missed it. But until last night, I didn't realize how much.

Since returning home to Florida, I have enjoyed weekly free outdoor concerts only a few blocks from my house. Jazz, country, rock, blues. Sidewalk concerts on weekends. Wednesday night bands. Belly-dancers by the fountain in front of the Taverna. Concerts on the beach, in the parks, and now in the coffee house. I have rediscovered the joy I feel when I listen to live music.

Yes, last night was a school night. And as a good mommy, I probably should have had my girls home and tucked into bed by 9 pm. But how can an evening of tv and early sleep compare to a night spent listening to music and poetry? They experienced slam and traditional poetry. Rap without music. Poetry recited with music. Original dramatic pieces. One very brave man's very first stab at stand up. Wonderful guitar and vocals, including a 14 year old who did a Greenday song with incredible skill. These are experiences I hope they will always remember. A start on their own lifetime of magical moments when they sit in front of a stage and take in the words or the music.

Tonight I will work. I will cook a nice dinner, and do laundry. Homework will be done right away. And after the girls go to sleep, I'll pull out my laptop and work. I may even watch a little tv. But in among my nights at home, our nights at home, I want to make sure there are enough nights like last night, where the only work we do is to listen. And make memories.

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