I wrote constantly as a child. Filling the remaining pages of old school notebooks leftover from years past, relinquishing the stories in my head onto those light blue lines, over and over again. Then just like that the energy of the words would seize. Held hostage to those words, allowing them to control me I became lost, frightened, scorned. Simply writing what my head could hold I would get all lost in the middle and then bail. Many times my stories were left without conclusion or even a climax really. While trying time and time again to move past that invisible barrier, rearing it’s ugly head, I would freeze. Perhaps a survival tactic, an avoidance of any further creative effort. Stepping away I would wait for a whole new idea, a whole new story, to take me away. The cycle was a loop on repeat.
A poet and I didn’t know it
I ultimately turned to poetry because I could easily spill out some words, rhyme even, and do it all in one sitting. I wasn’t as fearful of the time it took or losing the energy needed to persevere through a full narrative. Poetry and journal writing ruled my teens. I even shared some of my pieces out loud with a few people or wrote special poems to interested friends. Back then we passed handwritten notes and it was easy to convey my feelings and messages in poem, my mind racing in stance. I even enjoyed reading my poems to myself, finding comfort and solace in this reflection and appreciation of who I was. It felt good.
Then, I lost it. I forgot all about how to write for the pleasure of writing. I entered college where writing and reading became demands like no other time in my life, but not in the way that expressed myself. Writing in college was formulaic. I needed to follow rules and cite sources, sucking all of the joy out of the process of thought. I wrote more than ever, but felt like a minion to the order and demand of prescribed writing and thought. College turned into graduate school, turned into career. I continue to write reports full of jargon on a daily basis and find very little satisfaction with this practice.A
Shiny & new with sparkles
Last winter, one year ago, I bought myself a brand new notebook with an inscription on the outside that reads Poetry. It was in a clearance pile at Target. I had to talk myself into paying for such a nice looking body of pages, but buy it I did. I committed to finding time a few days each week to sitting and listening to my thoughts and putting them down in poem or prose. Unsure if I knew the difference or if it mattered, I wrote in the free spirited way I once did as a younger version of myself. This summer I decided to start sharing my poetry on Instagram (find me: writesaydo). I opened up an account just for that and through trial and error and consulting with my 12 year old daughter, figured out how to actually post poems to my account (#novice). I started taking pictures and writing poems on the pictures. It was a great summer love story and then a new season arrived. Fall is when my 9 months-a-year job starts and the love story came to a standstill. We no longer had our afternoon trysts or late night talks – it was all work and no play. I soon remembered my commitment to writing and with the year coming to a close, I set out to find a couple of times a week to steal away some time to write poems on Instagram once again.
A renewed commitment
At the end of 2018 I looked at how much writing I had done and was astounded at what a small purchase at Target, a small sparkling, squeaky clean notebook, could do for my confidence and ability to call forth the stories once again. This led to another commitment, a desire to reach even more people and explore my writing even further. I’ve been writing down ideas (technically hammering them out in Evernote on my phone) whenever a thought arises. These ideas have been waiting to land someday in my very own blog. You are now reading it. This is it. Thanks for sharing the journey.
How about you? Have you followed a path one stone at a time to look up and find that the terrain may have changed, but your internal compass continued to point you in the same direction?