Literary Arts Open Mic continues evolving at Tatnuck Bookseller
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Westborough – The Literary Arts Open Mic debuted last September in the Event Room at Tatnuck Bookseller, Gift Gallery and Café. Free and open to the public, the project is produced and moderated by Zorina Frey, author and owner of IWA Publishing Services, a self-publishing business.
“There are so many opportunities for writers when they get together,” she said. “It’s a really great venue to network and find a way to develop your writing. You never know what you’re going to get at each open mic, so it makes for an interesting evening.”
When Frey relocated from Indiana to Westborough about a year ago, she found that writers’ open mic events were held a considerable distance away.
“As much as I love poetry, I’d rather not have to take a 45-minute train ride into Boston,” she said. “Poetry is my first love, so naturally I’m going to gravitate to the local bookstore.”
She established the open mic at Tatnuck Bookseller as a monthly venue last September and October, and then took a two-month sabbatical around the holidays. During that time, Frey processed the suggestions she received from attendees and incorporated them as of January.
Now, the Literary Arts Open Mic is held the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. A featured artist is scheduled once a month. The meeting is a platform for lovers of any type of literature: authors, playwrights, poets, and even musicians and singers.
“Poetry is the root of music,” Frey noted. “Singing music is a ballad, so that is welcomed. It all starts with words.”
Frey welcomes different styles of writers and performance artists to make the evening more entertaining. She was particularly pleased when a multitalented guest strolled into the bookstore.
“I was so excited when a gentleman came in with a guitar case,” she relayed. “He was a guitarist and a poet, so he did a little bit of both. He really brought a whole different vibe to the event.”
Also, she was surprised when a published author took the podium.
“I fully expected her to read from her book, but instead she got up and started telling a story,” Frey said. “It wasn’t anything she wrote; she just told it off the top of her head. It was funny and captivating.”
Many of the open mic attendees are experiencing the concept for the first time. Still, they’re usually comfortable with their participation.
“It’s a cozy, nonjudgmental atmosphere,” Frey said. “It’s like you’re in someone’s living room and you’re just talking. You’re so relaxed that it’s almost like talking with family.”
Frey has a lot of firsthand experience with writers’ open mic events.
“When I was younger and started writing, I was living a life that was unguided,” she shared. “I had a challenging childhood, which led to a challenging young adulthood. The only thing that kept me grounded was writing in my journal. I somehow found a hybrid of a writing group and an open mic event. I would go there and that literally changed my life.”
That writing group attended an open mic event at a university, which further changed her life.
“I remember being so intimated by speaking at a university,” she said. “When I was done performing my poetry, I received a standing ovation which ultimately encouraged me to get an education myself. So I feel like I owe it to the community where I live to establish something like this for somebody who might need to develop their own voice as a writer.”
For a schedule of featured artists and more information, visit iwa.yolasite.com/literary-arts-open-mic.php.
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