thoughts on writing

“if you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average.” — derek walcott

i thought i would write something

playing with the words “erase” and “trace”

until i realized i could not write that

poem today and call myself a lady.

since i am trying to grow up into

truly being a lady and a woman

(and not just a girl) i will save

those thoughts for a time and

an idea where they’ll not be

unladylike or misconstrued.

i don’t know what i’m writing!

this is the folly and the foible

of a wandering and wondering

mind — yet is it better not

to have ideas when beginning

the writing process? to have

just a small thought niggling

and gnawing at the back of

your mind, worming its way

through your conscious and

unconscious thoughts until

it forces you to sit down and

make dream a reality, thereby

setting it free?  sometimes that

is how i find it, while other days

i have something specific to express

and the way in which i’ll say it

is the only unknown.  still other

moments i sit down, like today,

and summarily shred all my

poetic ideas and fancies, finding

them too hard to write about or

too happy or sad or any number

of other extremes and just stop.

i sit, stare, think, drink coffee, if

i’m lucky enough to have any,

scratch my head, crane my neck,

light candles, ruffle the lavender,

think of all the things i should be

doing — but i’ve made poetry a

serious part of me, and the poems

inside must be written even if my

words stick in my throat or clog

my pen.  i will sit here until something

comes, i say, knowing that for those

born to write, writing must be done,

no matter how good or bad the end

product, no matter if it is cast into

the (proverbial) fire tomorrow as lewis

says, without hope of success or even

seeing the light of day.  so, mr. walcott,

would you call my work average?  i am

an amateur, i’ll admit.  my wit and wisdom

are still sporadic at best — i write,

then let my writing rest until i can bear

to hack away at the bare framework

of bones i’ve built and refine the figure

into something of beauty and grace.

do i have hope for the future as a writer?

i have the pleasurable agony of

alternately restraining and unleashing

my muses and allowing my soul

to be seen by strangers.  i write.

not because i want fame and glory,

but because i have no choice.  i must write.