Often, I don’t know how I feel about something until I write a poem about it. Sometimes, I remember someone and decide I need to talk to them and the only form of communication I have is poetry. I probably don’t talk to people in real life about important things as much as I should. I’m loud, obnoxious, funny (I hope), and I like to make situations fun. My best quips often come out in the presence of medical staff because when I’m sick and/or in pain I have to find a way to make myself feel better. But how often do we, as writers, use our craft as therapy? As a means of good conversation that can be deep, honest, and, most importantly, controlled?
My post yesterday was an examination of how I felt about my apprehension towards writing on a subject I am drawn to, yet afraid to confront for fear of getting it wrong or offending someone. I don’t want to appropriate other people’s experiences. I don’t want to steal a voice from someone just because I’m afraid of my own, or find theirs a more intriguing perspective. Again, I have to write it out to form a stronger sense of what it is I’m trying to accomplish while acknowledging my own barriers.
The best thing I ever did for my own work was write an eviction letter to the ghosts/demons in my head. Those memories that haunt me, make me self-conscious, tell me that certain things are off-limits. Since then, I do feel more comfortable writing things out, confronting the dark places, accessing emotions I thought should not be shared. I’ve come to realize that a simple object or noun contains a world within it that I need to explore. I need to know what place I occupy in that, how I feel about that place, who is with me, who I’ve shut out.
If poetry is anything, it’s a reflection of how the poet sees the world and reacts to it. It doesn’t matter whose voice is being used. You can’t lie in poetry. Even if the poem is a lie, isn’t that still a truth? Isn’t the poet’s effort to disguise an unmasking?