It was the first open mic writers night I’d been to in Bristol, and I definitely wasn’t performing.
But the theme was ‘the great outdoors’, and people were talking about their misadventures in travel, camping and cycling. It’s one of my favourite topics, and being back in the company of writers and readers felt very nice.
So, of course, by the half-time break I had somehow signed up, and was soon stood up there myself.
I told the story of my first day cycling the Danube; pretty awful at the time, but a funny story viewed from the comfort of hindsight.
Perhaps because I hadn’t prepared at all, or that I didn’t know many people in the crowd – perhaps because the crowd was so friendly, or because of the cider – it was the most confident I had ever felt. Because I can act outwardly calm, although I generally find public speaking incredibly taxing, someone who had heard me talk before might not have noticed a difference.
But the difference I felt was incredible. It was almost as if I could see myself apart from the Kate who was talking and joking in front of an audience.
People laughed, they clapped, and I went away trying to bottle that feeling.