Saturday, July 18, 2015

Some thoughts on writing, poetry, and other stuff

I have a thousand ideas for my contribution to this blog. Some of them have been floating in the ether for so long they are no more than wispy tendrils of thought; others hit me like a ton of bricks and I can't stop thinking about them. But tonight, I was looking through older posts making sure that a particular thing I wanted to say about poetry wasn't something I'd already said before, and I read a few of my older posts. To make it even better, I read the comments to those posts.

I won't go into all my posts. You can do that if you'd like. But I did learn something amazing. As I read those words, first of all, I felt eloquent for the first time in a long time. Some of that stuff is pretty good! I also heard my voice speaking so lovingly to myself, sounding like a long-lost friend, encouraging me, making me laugh, and reminding me of important truths. Here are a few:

--Don't stop starting over
--What you are is enough
--Remember that you were put on this crazy planet to change it for the better--and if God didn't think know you could do it, you wouldn't be here
--Practice makes perfect, even when we hate practicing so much because we're not perfect.
-- You've spent your whole life becoming who you are, and who you are is wonderful! Let that line shine!

I could go on. My point is that these are things I have forgotten. Scratch that. I haven't forgotten them. I've buried them in my mind and heart under giant piles of inferiority complex, laundry, and to-do lists. Reading them has already strengthened me.

How great would it be if I were writing like this in my own personal journal? How wonderful if I could read the words I wrote as I read the scriptures or pondered the words of the Prophet, and then when I had a hard day, I could gain strength from my own thoughts and feelings?

Of course, when I say "I," I mean "we." :)

Now, another thought--my original one. It's simple and it's not mine:
Wow, that's even related to my previous thoughts. How great is that?

Back to a sister from the old, pre-split Westside Stories chapter of ANWA. She said, more than once, to "write your truth."  I know this comes from Ernest Hemingway. Here is his full quote, discussing what he did when he got stuck in writing. He would tell himself:  

'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'

So when we are writing poetry, we start with truth. We seek for truth. Sometimes it is with flowery words, sometimes we fit our truth into metered patterns and forms and sometimes we don't. I've said before that my poetry is for me, and that holds true. When I read it, after the fact, I'm often transported to whatever place and time I occupied when I wrote it. If I share it, I do so with hopes that it will help someone else to understand themselves through their reaction to my words; but if they don't, it's okay. Years later, I'll come back to it and find self-understanding and deeper meaning again and again. In that way poetry is like those old blog posts; voices from an old friend who knows me better than I know myself and is reaching out to leave me little treasures of wisdom. 

What have you learned from your writing? What gems of self-discovery have you found? 


  1. Hey some pretty good thoughts here just so you know as we grow we learn and not just get old

  2. Beautiful, and so true. I love the perspective I get when I go back and read things I've written, and I love that little thrill of joy when I find something that was actually really good! Sometimes when I feel like I stink at writing it's good for me to go back and read some of my best work, because it's a reminder that I CAN do this!



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