I went to Baxter's last Saturday for the open mic, a little unplanned, with little intention to stay. Some of you I saw over there, and some of you know I did stay, the whole time. I stayed because I found myself experiencing something that I'd been craving for a long time. (no, not the food, even though it's excellent :) There was this true, all around good energy flowing through the place, a real community feel, with even something more. It was exhilarating! Meeting new people, spending time with old friends, laughing, talking, sharing the ultimate-personal poetry that makes open mics a success.
I caught myself thinking back to the Cup o' Joes days, which really wasn't that long ago. I remembered the first few times I started going to Cup o' Joes again - April of this year - (I'd been a fan since high school, but moved too far away to go back) I loved Joes. For me it started out as a place I could go where I didn't have to explain anything about myself. I could invite someone for a game of pool and have good conversation without having to go into detail about the drama in my life. No explanations were necessary, no judgments were made. And I kept going back. I practically lived there, working on my newspaper articles, my novel, even some poetry after awhile.
It happened slowly, almost so slowly I didn't realize it was happening. I started fitting in. I started knowing the crowd there. I started sharing a little bit more about myself and they'd share with me a little bit more about them and pretty soon I felt like part of the group, a part of the community that was Joes.
And then it closed down. Thinking back, I think it was while it was in danger that people really started forming together. I knew I wanted to be a part of that and so I was. I think I felt how a lot of people felt, afraid that with the closing of Joes, that energy and community feel would close as well. I realized last Saturday, it's only begun.
So I figure I have one of two ways to approach this holiday season. I hear often in the adult world, people saying things like "now holidays just seem like any other day, where's the magic that used to be there when we were kids? What's the big deal?" Or "It's all about money and businesses anyway" Or "yeah...holidays suck this time of year..." I admit, with everything that happened in my life this year, I was definitely leaning towards that last train of thought. But then something happened.
I realized I could do something about it. Something so big, yet so simple, that it would not only ensure myself of having a great time this holiday season, but possibly those around me, also. The hardest part of the holidays, I think for anyone, is being alone. Even the grinches of grinches who won't admit to it don't like being alone during the holidays. It just gets sad and depressing. Personally, I really start missing my family a lot and the good times, even if back then they weren't that good...it's the whole childhood feel the holidays used to bring. I figured I wouldn't be the only one missing all that.
The kind of energy I felt at Baxter's last Saturday is the kind of energy I want to feel this holiday season. It is my intention, with this Thanksgiving party, and other parties throughout this season, to continue that feeling of community, of family, of reaching out to each other to sustain the energy that makes the holidays magical.
And I realize all of this may sound ridiculously sentimental and a lot cornball. But for this time of year, I'm allowing myself, this once, to be so. With the economy the way it is now, and with families struggling the way they do, I feel that now, more than any other time, it's so important to come together as a community, as friends, as possibly a family of our own, to laugh, share, eat good food, and build those relationships that have the potential to be strong, free of judgment, and long-lasting.