At a recent Open Mic Night held at Scout & Molly's in Raleigh, Sean Ingram, a spoken word artist, took the microphone and read his work to the audience. When he was finished, he spontaneously starting singing and brought the audience to tears.
Once a month, the North Carolina Writers Network hosts an Open Mic Night for writers of all levels to read their work aloud. Writers sign up in advance to read for five minutes and all topics, except for politics and religion, are welcome. Writers read works from all genres, including poetry, short stories and excerpts from novels they are working on.
The events are held at different locations throughout the Triangle, such as Falls River Books in Raleigh, Quail Ridge Books, Calm and Sense in Glenwood Village, The Morning Times in Downtown Raleigh, The Business Networking Center of Cary, Scout & Molly's in North Hills and Bruce Johnson Photography Studios in Wake Forest. The next Open Mic Night will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 20 at Storytellers Book Store in Wake Forest.
The next Open Mic Night will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 20 at Storytellers Book Store, 100 E. Roosevelt Ave., Wake Forest.
Vanessa Vendola of Raleigh has been attending Open Mic each month since the first one in February 2009.
"I love sharing my passion for poetry with other people by reading my work," Vendola said.
She enjoys the variety of writing that is shared and likes hearing the background stories behind the authors' work.
One of the reasons that co-organizer Megan Cutter, 34, of Raleigh enjoys attending the Open Mic Nights is the support from the other writers and the audience. When she first began participating, she was nervous about reading in public. She found the environment safe, and she gained confidence sharing her work. After her husband Barton finished reading his poetry one night, a fellow writer came up to Barton, who has a speech impediment. The writer told him that while he didn't understand all of the words that Barton said, he understood the emotion behind his poem.
At many of the Open Mic Nights, money also is raised to support different charities. Past charities have included the MS Society of Eastern NC and Warriors for Wellness. The Cutters are planning to adopt a child, and at one of the recent Open Mic Nights the group raised money to help support them in their adoption journey.
"We were very touched by this and it was very encouraging to feel the support from the writing community," Megan Cutter said.
Alice Osborn, 37, of Raleigh is a co-organizer of the event and encourages people who are not reading aloud to attend the events to listen to the writers.
"Anyone who has a love of reading and writing is welcome," Osborn said.
She is a professional writer and volunteers as the Regional Representative for the North Carolina Writers Network.
Megan Cutter said one of her goals as a writer is to help other writers find their voice.
"I have seen the writers come into their own voice, confidence and have fun," she said.