annie get your gun and also your microphone by Laura Kochman

Once, when I was eleven or twelve, my mother tricked me into auditioning for a local musical (I could probably do a whole blog series on "times my mother tricked me into X"). She described it as a small community production, and I was not interested at all because I had terrible stage fright, but when we got there and started going through the audition, it became clear that it was more like an off-Broadway production. I showed up in jeans, and they had us going through a complicated dance number. Other people wore leotards. It was horribly embarrassing. The only aspect of the thing that I had any confidence in was the voice audition, for which I sang "Moonshine Lullaby" from Annie Get Your Gun. I was so quiet that they had the pianist stop playing so that I could sing a cappella. None of us got a callback, hallelujah.

—which is to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I started giving public readings and I loved it. Is it not cool to get caught up in the rhythm of the thing that you wrote? I don't care. Reading my work makes me more confident in my work, and once I get up to read, I'd prefer not to stop. Last night my quiet voice was a little bit of a bummer, because we were in a bar and there was jazz playing in the next room and traffic outside and some kind of high-pitched whine-from-whence-who-knows, so I had to strike a balance between creating volume and reading with tonal shifts. Even with all that, it was still so much better than nervously singing soprano in front of a casting director trying not to shake his head. I have tried a lot of musical instruments, and none as good and satisfying and right as language itself.

by Laura Kochman

While sitting on the couch, doing a practice read-through of the poems for this Friday's reading, I realized I was tapping one foot along with the rhythm. Like my mom does when she's playing the cello.