Confessions of an open mic virgin: Christine Priestly ‘fesses up on her RYB experience

Showing your creative work to people is intimidating. Reading it aloud, more so. And with a mic, to a pub full of strangers, are you insane? But when I walked into The Empress last Wednesday night for Read You Bastards there was an anticipatory vibe. Encouraging. Supportive, even.

Before I could wallflower myself, I wrote my name down to read. Volunteered alongside published guest speakers, seasoned Read You Bastards regulars, and fellow open mic virgins. There was no getting out of this. I took my seat with some quality pub grub, a bottle of booze, and looked around. I was among friends.

Our hosts made a night and a half of it, with kooky door prizes between sets (I won the appropriately titled Mills & Boon Man-Hater—my story ‘Nesting Season’ is about a woman who murders her lover in a cemetery), live music, and encouragement aplenty. Hearing authors and poets perform their work gives it a flavour you can’t taste from reading it yourself.

Then my name was called, my hideously scrawled bio deciphered. I was up on stage. Lights blurred out most of the audience. Blind and deaf to everything but my beginner’s violin voice, I was in the story. I was the story. It was adrenalin-city.

Then it was over. I took my seat, still shuddering. I looked around. Still among friends. And all I wanted was to get up there and do it again.


Christine Priestly is currently studying for her Master of Arts in Writing and Literature at Deakin University. She writes fiction and creative non-fiction and knows you can never own too many pairs of stilettos or love enough cats.

5 thoughts on “Confessions of an open mic virgin: Christine Priestly ‘fesses up on her RYB experience

  1. That’s great feedback about the night Christine.It’s good to hear how it feels for a first timer. I’m glad you found it a little hub of support and fun. We were so impressed by all the pieces that night!

    RYB Curator

  2. Loved your story.
    Read again..indeed you should 🙂
    I was purely there for the listening. Twas my first night absorbing the different stories. As a pure audience member I found it difficult to absorb ALL the stories – especially after a few too many beers on a hot night, though the musical interlude helped as you need a break or two which the night allows, but as an audience member, you go in with an open mind and take it as it comes as there could be something in there that pulls you in, cracks you up, or stirs something deep inside…

  3. Pingback: March 1: What’s happening, Melbourne? « Thuy Linh Nguyen

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