That’s right. I’m claiming it, calling it a goal. Going on the record.

For the past four years I’ve been reading at open mics, mostly in the Triangle area of NC, and loving it enough that, when I travel, I always look for a local event and, if at all I can, make a point of trying to read there.

I’ve hit Open Mouth Night in Savannah, the Sunday slam at the Green Mill in Chicago, and a magnificently dark basement open mic at Logue’s Emporium in Nashville.

This week, I’m headed west for what I hope will become a tradition with my sister: a week of what we’re calling ThanksVegas. Just so happens there’s a regular poetry night called The Human Experience at The Beat Coffee House on Fremont Street.

This, I’ve decided, will mark the beginning-in-earnest of a goal to read at an open mic in each of the lower 48 states. Knowing my life and my budget, if I were forced to time box it, I’d say I’ll do it in 5 years.

Some will be easy—I’ll be on work travel next month in NYC (staying just an easy cab ride from the Nuyorican!). I can visit old friends back home in Oklahoma. Virginia is an easy drive. I know people in Texas, South Carolina, New Jersey. Others will take some doing.

I’m expecting to be surprised (if that’s even possible)—by the poets I’ll meet and their work. I’ll steal some ideas, maybe, for structuring and hosting a solid open mic of my own.

But for now, it’s mostly just a thing to do—a lark, a quest.

A story in the making.