Joining in doesn’t always require invitation

By Clyde Davis: Local columnist

It happens time and time again. No doubt, it is related to one of those group-dynamic tenets, tenets by which we are constantly living but not necessarily aware of. Sometimes, when we become aware of them, we figure out how to get past them, or at least not allow them to rule our lives.

I am talking about the in-group mentality, the mentality that forces us to believe that, if we are not part of a particular focus group at the beginning, we’re somehow prohibited from joining later on. It’s what keeps us, in a small town, from steadily expanding the organizations that work to enhance our quality of life.

This Friday is Bohemian Night at the Main Arteri, 311 N. Main St., a fun gathering that begins at 6:30 (if one wants to go to the covered-dish dinner) and continues for several hours — not too late, maybe 9:30 at the latest.

I would recommend going to the covered-dish dinner, though, since for the contribution of one dish, you’ll get to eat the wonders others have produced in their kitchens, as well as socialize with some great, fun people. As the saying goes, they will be friends you haven’t met yet.

(Yeah, it’s no secret — I like to eat.)

So you’ve never been there before, and subconsciously, that is what’s keeping you from going now? To quote Don Henley out of context, “Get over it!” Do you really think that, by waiting until September, you’ll break the ice any easier? Here’s a clue: there is no ice to break. The group is warm, inclusive, not grim and foreboding.

For those who don’t know, the Main Arteri is a center for the arts, and that relates to Bohemian Night. If you are a poet, bring some of your poetry. If you are a short-story writer, bring all or part of one of your stories.

Artist? Bring one of your works and talk some about it, display it, or just lay it out and see if anyone notices; they will. Musician? Essayist? Novelist? Performance artist?

Is it required that each guest bring a piece of creativity to offer? Of course not. You can come and watch, listen with an open mind, applaud and cheer on your fellow High Plains Bohemians. You can be a part of the supporting cast.

Is it child friendly? That is a big question our family must consider, and possibly it is for yours as well. The answer is a resounding “Yes.” Material that’s presented is done in good taste, and with an eye to the fact that young ears may be listening.

If it isn’t required, what happens if I change my mind and decide I want to read some of my stuff, sing my song, or whatever I thought I would not want to do? Step up to the microphone, buddy. They can fit you in.

Something this great has to cost, right? Wrong. The whole event is absolutely free. There is no cover charge, no membership fee and no collection at the door. There will be, this time around, an auction, with pieces ranging from the sublime to the joke oriented. The purpose of the auction is to keep expenses covered — paper plates, cups, plasticware, etc.

“It’s always a great evening. For the price of a bowl of green chili stew, a bag of chips, or maybe some ginger snaps from Albertson’s, you can relax and share your writings, songs and whatever with folks who enjoy hearing what you and others have to offer. If you’re not hungry or just not interested in eating, you can forget about the stew, chips or snaps and just kick back and enjoy what the muses have to offer. The coffee punch is to die for.” — Dick Cullen

So, what are you waiting for? See you Friday.

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and an instructor at Eastern New Mexico University. He can be contacted at: