I ‘m lucky to have a handful of super supportive poetry people in my life, people who consistently like and sometimes even share my social media posts, people who read my poems and manuscripts to give insightful and intelligent comments, and people who have similar poetic journeys who have remained travel partners.
The problem is, I’ve always had this side of my writing that doesn’t stick with mostpeople. No matter how supportive my friends have been and continue to be, I need to reach out to find writers with similar intuitions and interests when it comes to the page.
I remember one workshop in grad school:
I brought in a piece where every line of the poem connected with a letter in another by crossing at acute-ish, perpendicular-ish angles, creating a sort of pick-up sticks looking piece (maybe I have it…I’ll go look). Anyway, what was usually a twenty minutes per person workshop landed me around 45 minutes. It was mostly a silent forty five minutes.
Some people were pissed. After class, one person even complained to me directly, without ever saying it was my poem that took so long. But the thing was, no one was saying anything about it. Other poems had their time filled. Even not so great pieces (you know, the kind where the author admits to having written it twenty minutes before workshop) had comments, suggestions and at least a few positive thoughts.
To the credit of my professor, more was wanted of the class. She wanted her graduate level students to think outside the box, to think outside the stanza’s imperial walls. That professor, by the way, has been amazing, and I shall sing her praises when I feel comfortable using people’s names.
Apart from that professor, other amazingly insightful profs, and some friends with fantastic creative leans who saw something in what I was doing, I’ve needed to commune with writers and readers who are deeply involved with those forward thinking, odd ball styles.
What are you writers like, anyway?
What kind of music do you listen to? Do you watch trashy movies, too? Do you know the difference between a field goal post and home plate?
Sharing my writing freely feels like the best way to get myself out there and discover and hear from and connect with you few I’ve seen and you, oh multitude of creatives I haven’t yet.
Blogs require a lot of writing, though, and a lot of the writing they require could be saved and worked on painstakingly over years for the sake of paper pages in anthologies and books and journals. But waiting for the end of insignificance one lucky piece at a time won’t bring that end any faster.
Art is the path of the creator to his work.Ralph Waldo Emerson
So, I am going to start de-valuing my opinion of my writing or, really, I’m starting to re-evaluate how I value my writing.
Blogs and the freedom of the internet mean I can share things worth sharing and save up things worth publishing. I can even share things not worth sharing just to see what kind of reaction I get.
In other words, I can, and will put writing out there.
It isn’t that I am looking at my writing like it has no value. What I’m seeing is that by posting myself online I am showing the world that I think my writing is valuable.
If someone else likes it, great. If it gets me published elsewhere, awesome. If I discover something about myself as a writer, perfect. If nothing happens, at least I didn’t keep everything I’ve typed and scratched out on paper in a box under my bed or in a file folder that, come the end of the year, gets archived on an external, nearly inaccessible, hard drive.
In the interest of discovery, new things and burning out instead of fading away, this is it.
I love the things I write. I love things writers write. But where there is no writing, writing isn’t happening. This is it, my happening.