By Carolina Carneiro, Summer Times Staff Writer

In the midst of stress and homesickness, as well as anxiety, there is one event in Exeter where I have felt safe and calm enough to speak my mind, and that is at Open Mic.

Every Tuesdays and Thursdays, at exactly 8:28 pm, I walk eagerly to the Phillips Church next to the music center on Tan Lane, anticipating a session where performers would evoke deep questions, thoughts, and emotions through their presentations of songs, poems, stories, and so on.

Well, I would particularly anticipate Mr.Weatherspoon to evoke these thoughts since I and he and his wife, Jackie Weatherspoon, have been the only participants and audience. To be quite frank, it is disappointing that it is only the three of us — we really want to hear others or at least have them come and listen.

However, Mr.Weatherspoon’s riveting, booming voice and amazing singing skills has made me forget that there were only three of us in the room. I have performed a couple of pieces myself; I have performed a short poem on mental health; I have said a prayer; and I even sang, something that I have been scared to death to do in front of people. I went to only three of these sessions and I already grew intellectually and experienced new things. 

One of Open Mic’s elements that I am extremely fond of is that we cannot clap or snap after a performance. When Mr.Weatherspoon told me this rule, I too, just like you, was confused; if something is good, we are supposed to praise it. Yet, not soon after, I remembered this concept from my religion (Bahá’í Faith) called detachment; we are supposed to be detached from praise because it does not help us grow.

For example, if we become attached to praise, our actions will only be made to earn praise, and if we do not receive much praise, we will be discouraged from committing certain deeds, regardless of how they make us feel. We cannot clap or snap after performances because we do not need praise to know that we have talent. We need to learn to have confidence in ourselves without depending on others to tell us. This is my own interpretation of the rule, of course; I don’t know the true reason behind the making of this rule; however, I think my interpretation is still important. 

In conclusion, I call on the Exeter Summer community, to come to this event and experience many epiphanies or “OHHHHHHHHH that is so interesting” moments. I call on the people to come and share your talents with others, or just share inspiring pieces that have been written by others, or simply come and listen.