Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone 2

On Tuesday, Friday and Saturday I stepped outside of my comfort zone with great results.  Just thought I’d share.

I’ll share the most personal first.  On Friday night I presented two of my short stories at Write on the Dot reading series at Savin Hill Yoga Coop. 

Write on the Dot is a Dorchester reading series run by UMass Boston MFA students to support and promote local writing.

I was one of 4 writers that night.  The other readers were Rayna Bricenco (fiction), Josh Jones (poetry), and Caleb Nelson (poetry and short story).  A nice ice-breaker that started the evening was two instant poems created on-site by two poets who “faced off” again each other.  The poets, who happened to be roommates, reached in a fishbowl for the phrases submitted by attendees and created a poem while the rest of us were schmoozing.

Two friends of mine attended and gave me moral support.  Both used the T to get to the reading.  I feel so honored that they came because they walked 10 minutes on a windy, drizzly rainy night to come.

Larry Pryor, teacher and founder of SHYC, led us in a meditative exercise before we read.  It helped calm my nerves and centered me.  Still, it was scary to go on especially since I was the first reader.  (I’d read GREAT TIPS for reading aloud in front of an audience recommended by Lynn, one of the organizers of the reading, and it helped tremendously.)

 I also did a practice run-through to an intimate group of writers in a writers group I joined that morning. I only stumbled once or twice during the reading and managed not to have my hands shake.  (I thought they would because there was no podium to hide behind, just a microphone with the audience within touching distance.)

As I read, the audience responded with laughter in the right places and gasps of surprise at the ending twist in the story.  VALIDATION!  I felt so validated.  I’d labored over this short story and I felt I’d chosen the best story for the crowd that attended.  It was a great mix of ages, genders, townies and students from UMass-Boston. 

I hadn’t read one of my own pieces publicly for about 10 years.  (I read at a conference and the piece I read, while powerful, was such a downer that it sucked the air out of the room.  After that experience, I did not so much decide not to read publicly again, as allow myself to avoid presenting my own work by concentrating on promoting the work of others in my role as director of ACT Roxbury.)

What a wonderful evening. All of the writers’ work was provocative, some brilliantly so.  I am always amazed by the creativity of human beings and how the same words can be used in such different ways. I felt connections with the other writers.  Writers, audience and organizers shared a affirmative evening.

Writing is often such a solitary pursuit that one can end up too often being too frequently isolated with oneself by oneself. 

The next event of Write on the Dot will be held at the Banshee (Food, Soccer, Music, Beer)  in Dorchester on Oct. 25 from 7-9pm.  It’s an Open Mic event.  Contact Write on the Dot for details.


The second  and third steps out of my comfort zone involved making cold-visits to two organizations I’d been trying to reach for months for one of my jobs.  By boldly showing up (with a small give-away in hand), I was able to meet people face-to-face and end telephone and email tag.  I found out why they hadn’t responded (one person had been out on extended sick-leave) and move my work forward.  Sometimes face-to-face nets the best results.

These experiences leave me feeling good in the neighborhood.  What a great way to end/begin a week.



Writers gather to share stories, inspiration on Pearl Street by Chris Harding  (Thank you Chris and the Dorchester Reporter for always providing coverage of the range of events in Dorchester.)

Savin Hill Yoga Cooperative (11 Pearl Street, Dorchester)

The Savin Hill Yoga Cooperative was formed in the fall of 2011 to support yoga classes and related activities at Pearl Street Studios at 11 Pearl Street in the Savin Hill neighborhood of Dorchester. The studio at Pearl Street is a beautiful renovated livery stable built expressly as a yoga studio.

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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2 thoughts on “Stepping Out of my Comfort Zone

  • Carolyn

    I am also learning that my “comfort zone” is not the place to be if I want excitement, stimulation and validation. Congratulations on choosing to explore beyond those boundaries and achieving such great results! I look forward to attending more events where you share your work…what a great evening it was. You are such an inspiration to me. Thank you.

  • Candelaria

    Thank you for the thoughtful comment.  Stretching is always good – especially after we’ve warmed up by trying new things – baby steps are okay.  Your support and sisterhood is so appreciated!