That sounds kinda dirty, doesn’t it?

I lost my BONK! virginity last week when I shared a piece of original poetry at BONK! 118 here in Racine. This celebration of writing and music is held monthly (for around the last 118 months!) at various locations around town.

The theme was social justice and the variety of performers was astounding. Many young people attended and shared pieces. This was especially heart-warming to the kind of “older” people who despair about literacy rates among our youth. If this event proved anything, it was that young people are smart and deep and funny and creative.

All of the pieces shared were original poems or music that spoke to the topics covered by the heading of “social justice”. There were many who shared about sexual assault and the #MeToo movement. Depression and mental illness were also broached as topics that are difficult to discuss but that bubble up when left un-shared.

There was much political thought expressed as people aired their frustrations with policies and practices that are anathema to deeply held beliefs about the role of government in compassionate treatment of people.

Several musicians shared original pieces of music openly and bravely. Performing is anxiety provoking enough on its own without adding the fear of judgement that comes from premiering a piece previously kept private.

Death and loss were explored; loss of a loved one, loss of innocence, loss of hope. People read from phones, from notebooks, from pages written on legal pads in fevered longhand. And people brought a powerful listening to the experience. The supportive crowd assured that even the most nervous among us was welcomed and celebrated.

There was laughter. There was connection. There was consensus. Writing is a particularly solitary art and the chance to share what you have written with real live people who are in the same room as you are is rare. The BONK! participants represent that best that we have to offer one another as artists.

The next BONK! event is a special 10th Anniversary celebration.

Check out the Facebook page for info. It will take place on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 6 PM – 9 PM at the REC (Root River Environmental Education Community Center)   1301 W 6th St, Racine, Wisconsin 53404

Hope to see you there!

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