The Journey Of Finding Your Writer’s Voice: A New Poem

8 May

Virginia Woolf said that a writer couldn’t write when they were angry, Nabokov said writers need enthusiasm and Grace Paley said truth.  I tried to write truth but it laughed at me, it said it couldn’t be written, I wrote anger and it covered rooms and hung off the backs of chairs like long strands of sticky taffy.

My mother always said, “be careful, they can pull out your teeth,” and so I tried on enthusiasm and that exhausted me; it cannot be sustained, though when I was young I could fill pages with it.

My mother was my first critic, she looked at my words and sniffed, “too much dialog,” so I put down my pen and told myself I wasn’t very good – how can there be no scene?

I didn’t know how to describe the things that I saw, to convey feeling, I could only be a vehicle for what others said and that seemed to be my story.

The I wasn’t anything but observation for that’s all it saw, but the eye knew more than I did and it knew to look inward, to keep searching beneath the glaze.

It skimmed its sight over my cracks and said, “this must be told,” but how does one paint pictures with words, how does one create bridges so that others can walk across your ruptures?

I didn’t want trodden paths or feet upon me, I didn’t want other’s eyes telling my stories, so I hide in metaphor because I didn’t want to see my own telling.

So frightened was I that I never said anything really.   I used each stroke of each letter to build an abstract that one could hang on a wall, or in a coffee shop, or in a place where it was ok to not know the meaning of things because that was the point.

To not mean anything to anyone so that you can be anything to everyone

“That’s beautiful,” you said, “that makes so much sense,” but what’s left of you when there is no I?  So you swam backward in the sea of self and tried to grasp onto the familiar, to recreate what you had seen, but nothing was the same and neither were you.

You had twisted limbs, an uncertain scent and larger divides.

This is where the You began, the you that told the stories for you; that’s sitting here now grasping for the words of telling so that others can understand how it began.

How you reclaimed the unfamiliar and found the bound book that held only dialog and crayon drawings of stick figures trying to convey what you saw then.

How the pages were crooked and the spine weak; how to see such a thing was ugly; how you thought you were more but there you were.

But that’s all really, we are just our own enthusiastic telling, made in anger, made in truth, made with others eyes upon waiting to say, “there is just too much dialog.”


One Response to “The Journey Of Finding Your Writer’s Voice: A New Poem”

  1. HR May 9, 2013 at 2:36 am #

    Ive always thought you were the bravest person I know!

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