My stomach was fluttering like crazy – that mixed feeling of “I’m so nervous I’m about to throw up” and “oh please let me have the strength to come out and say it.” I had to wait to make sure all the children were in bed. Nerves were heightened as I worried about what they would think, would they like it, and why didn’t I do a final proof read in the daylight.
We had gathered around the fire to tell stories and poetry, sing songs, and recite the words of true artists, like Henry Lawson and Alice Cooper. The Bardic Circle. I had printed something in preparation at work, and I was clutching onto them for dear life. Give me the strength.
The Captain asked, “Does anyone else have a story to share with us?”
“I do.” Holy shit, that was me. Those were my lips moving, my tongue working to form those words. I had said that out loud.
“I have trouble reading things out loud from paper, so I was wondering if someone else would like to read my short story about Beltane. It’s a bit smutty, though.”
Gathered around the fire, my words were spoken. I could not have read it aloud, although now I wish that I had fought through the insecurities about my mumbling words, stood up and read those words by the light of a mobile phone. But sitting back listening to my work being spoken aloud, I was able to watch the reaction of others. I had never done this before – my words had never been read aloud in a gathering, nor had I been able to have them read out by another. I tried to hide my own reactions to the laughter, the giggles, the exasperation as we got to the reason the couple within the story had come together.
Beltane. Sex. Lust. Fire. Fertility. Change. Heat. Passion.
Hands tracing muscles; mouths exploring; sweaty skin upon sweaty skin; the craving; the desire; the yearning; the need for that insatiable connection.
I won the Bardic Circle and became the Bard of Beltane for 2014. The veil lifted, and I saw a world that I had been searching entry to for years: enjoyment of my stories, recognition for my work, and a request to write another for next year.
Challenge accepted. I might even read it out loud myself.