T.M. Göttl at Joe Sundae’s in Sandusky on Sunday 3 August 2008

This is the video that almost wasn’t.  Almost everything that could happen did to prevent me from making the hour-long drive to Joe Sundae’s in Sandusky to film a poetry reading that afternoon.

First of all, I was late leaving because I could not find my tripod – and I’d promised both Larry Smith and T.M. Göttl that I’d film the event.  Being that it would be my first videotaped poetry reading blog, I wanted everything to be perfect – and certainly didn’t want to trust the camera to my shaking hand.  It might not shake at first.  But after two hours of filming I figured it would get tired and shake.  Plus, no tripod meant my hands wouldn’t be free to take still photos with my other camera – and I’d have to trust someone else to handle the filming when I got up to read during the open mic.  I never did find the tripod.  And finally I couldn’t wait a moment longer to leave home or I’d be late.

That’s when our puppy Leda had diarrhea – just as I was about to walk out the door.  I couldn’t just leave it there in her kennel!  She’d be covered in it by the time I came home.  

So I cleaned that up and was finally on the road, about to take the ramp onto Interstate 90 when I remembered where my tripod was – in the back of my wife’s truck at her job in Grafton.  Too late for me to retrieve it now!  So while I was kicking myself for not remembering where it was sooner, I got on the Interstate… without thinking.  I’m used to 99% of all the poetry readings I attend being east of where I live, so I got on east I-90 before it hit me that for Sandusky I needed to go west.  I had to drive all the way to Avon before I could turn around – and so I was running even later

Going west finally, I decided to check my computer print-out of directions.  I knew there were four different Sandusky exits off the freeway, and figured it might be a good idea to know ahead of time which one I needed to follow.  That’s when I realized that I was missing page two of the directions and would have no way of knowing how in the heck to get to Joe Sundae’s, even if I knew which exit to take (which I didn’t).  By this time, I knew I was going to be late already, and if I went home to get directions, I might as well not go to the reading at all, since I’d miss the featured reader and much of the open mic anyway.  The only options were go home and stay or press on – and I chose the latter.

I remembered the Taoist concept of being like water, as well as a line from a Beatles song, and I made up my mind to stop stressing out and just flow.  I thought, “I may not make it to the reading; but wherever I end up will be where I’m supposed to be.” 

Then I fantasized about how nice it would be to have someone in front of me to “blaze a trail” to where I was going.  And just then a black Chevy TrailBlazer (no kidding!) with a license plate that read “JET” flew by me at over 90 miles per hour – and I said to myself, “I’m going to take that as a sign.”  I pulled out, hit the accelerator and followed that truck from Elyria to Sandusky.  And for once there were no cops in sight.

As we were approaching Sandusky finally, I began to worry again about which exit to take.  That’s when the TrailBlazer got in the lane to exit onto route 250.  Wow!  It then jerked back onto the Interstate at the last second and continued west.  But I imagined that the truck was sending me a message about where to get off – and I had no idea where I was going anyway – so I exited the freeway.

Then I was going north, closer and closer to dead-ending in Lake Erie.  All I knew was that the site of the poetry reading was on Washington Street.  But I’d given up on actually finding it – was already late – and started thinking I might just end up writing poetry on the Erie beach.  But a block before I got to the lake I saw a sign that read “Washington Street.”  And before you could say Joe Sundae’s I was exactly where I’d wanted to be all along.

I ran in the door – and found that my friend Dianne had saved a seat for me right up front.  I’d missed T.M.’s first three or so poems; but I was still able to catch the lion’s share of her performance, including all of my favorite pieces.  The Beatles were right after all.  “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.”

Now you can be there, too.

Here’s the video I shot of Göttl’s featured reading, with as little editing as possible.  It’s about 30-minutes long, but worth every second – and at the very end you’ll see me interviewing the poet briefly.  

Pay no attention to the background coffeehouse noise that sometimes filters in from the other room.  Next time I’ll get there early and run a line from the mic amplifier to my camera.

I also filmed the open mic portion of the event, which included me reading John Cage Engaged and Uncaged, as well as some fantastic performances by John Dorsey, Larry Smith, Dianne Borsenik, Zachary Moll, Rob Smith, RuthAnn Brooker, Jack Vanek, Dan Murphy and others.  But I’ll save that for a future blog, so I can get this posted tonight.

If you haven’t already, please order a copy of T.M. Göttl’s fantastic book Stretching the Window here.

To check out T.M. Göttl’s BuffaloZEF.net artist page, click here.

To visit T.M. on MySpace, the address is http://www.myspace.com/tmgottl.

She’s also very involved in the Evening for Chuck benefit for Pancreatic Cancer, which will be held on Sunday, September 7th.  Please check out www.eveningforchuck.com for more information and to show your support for this very important cause.  Please!

* * *

Coming attractions on my blog, besides some excellent Joe Sundae’s open mic highlights, include video from the Jim’s Coffeehouse open mic in Elyria on Thursday, video of Christopher Franke’s featured Deep Cleveland reading at the Strongsville Borders on Friday, and highlights from the Strongsville open mic session (including me, more T.M. Göttl, and performances by a dozen other excellent poets).  A cornucopia of cool poetry in all shapes, sizes and colors….

Stay tuned!

Oh… and I ended up finding my tripod at home later that evening.  It wasn’t in the truck after all.