IN A WORD
Knowing what to say at the right time, in the right place, is a gift. It was not a gift I possessed as a kid growing up. Was I afraid of my voice? Somewhat. Perhaps it was more a matter of not trusting I could find words that made sense in the moment. Too much thinking stifles instinct. Raising questions and doubts where they might not otherwise surface. Contributing to a lack of trust – in a voice that might otherwise surface.
It was not that I was at a loss when it came to imagination. Quite the opposite! At least that is what I remember. Reading became a passion early on, opening my mind to a world rich in colourful characters and the unique settings in which they lived. I discovered that words embraced in silence – in the privacy of a personal space – allowed me to appreciate possibilities that extended beyond the immediacy of my youth. Admittedly, I did not always understand every nuance of the stories I read. But I could imagine the vivid accounts of tragic events where heroes and villains were loved and despised in equal parts.
In time, I learned to navigate the mystery of words. To play with them, surprised by images that emerged by adding or removing text – surprised by how subtle changes impacted perceptions and meaning. I suppose that is how my voice finally emerged. Paying attention to how authors and poets drew from within to create inspiring stories and images sparked something within me; a longing to learn how to draw on the stories in the immediacy of the world in which I lived, and beyond my reach.
I do not recall when it was that I started to write poetry. It feels like my imagination has always run amuck with visions of sunsets and sunrise, of vibrant textures embedded within nature, of raw emotions and endless questions. At some point, I gave myself permission to trust the voice that emerged as I found the words to say what it is I wanted to say; what I needed to say. At some point, I understood that I may not always find the words to express what needs to be said in the moment. But I will persist to find them in the silence of my heart. And to write what I see and feel in response to the moment – lived and relived – until it makes sense.
I do not write to say something
I write because I have
something to say
I do not write to populate
a blank page
I write because words
on a page bring joy
I do not write to empty my head
I write to empty my heart
I write for my life