Sunday, February 28, 2010


i have not written any poetry for months, which for me, has been strange. certainly i have had my share of dry spells, as i think every writer/poet does, but this has not been a dry spell, this has been something else. it began a few months ago, when i noticed that every time i attempted to write poetry, it felt, well, nauseating, as though i had opened a plate of leftovers that still looked and smelled edible, but when i put a spoonful in my mouth i discovered it was one day past it's "best if consumed by" date. it was awful! so after this happened several times and i had created and deleted no more than a few lines of poetry, i decided to put writing aside until i figured out what was going on.

perhaps some non-poets would have difficulty understanding why not writing for several months would seem strange and even bother me, well, let me put it this way: nearly every person has something they do that they believe defines them or gives them their identity, whether that something is their job, or being a parent, student, volunteer, athlete, artist, etc. and if, for whatever reason, these people can no longer do what they have been doing, even for a few months, it is often frustrating, frightening, and sometimes, it hurts a hell of a lot too.

after the first couple of weeks of not writing poetry, i kept waiting for those feelings to come, but strangely, they never did. in fact, during this short time of not producing any creative writings, i found it strange indeed, but overall, i have been okay. content, even. and that in itself has been weird.

when i finally decided to survey just what was going on inside of me, i was able to see some very interesting things. first off, when i create poetry, it comes from a dark place inside of me. ever since i was a teen and delved into poetry and journaling, i wrote from an injured, angry, morose and darkly seductive chamber in my soul. not that that is bad, because i know that writing poetry has been an effective way to express my toxic emotions and it has rescued me, many times, from self-destruction.

but over the past couple of years, i have been going through intense recovery, bringing into the light my deepest pains, fears, and illusions. in the light of truth they have been examined, dealt with and healed. with the absence of my pain and fears, the dark place in me became empty except for some old photo albums stacked neatly in the corner. my need to visit the room disappeared. however, when i attempted to write poetry, i would, out of habit, open that creaky door, enter the room and flip through the pages of painful memories in order to try and stir-up something to write about, and it felt uncomfortable, sickening, and just plain unnecessary.

the discomfort i was feeling was also because i had been mis-using my God-given talent by placing my identity in it.* i was a poet -that was my identity- and winning awards and being published felt like validation. but of course, the satisfaction was fleeting, for in my mind, winning awards set the bar (for myself) really high, which in turn caused anxiety: what if my poetry was criticized or rejected? what if i never got published or awarded again? since my identity was in my poetry, i believed that meant any criticism or rejection was really about me.

throughout these past two years of recovery, i have been learning about and experiencing God's unconditional love for me, and i am just now beginning to understand that my identity is not in anything i do or don't do. my identity is something far more precious and wonderful. who i am has nothing to do with my own efforts or choices or striving. it has nothing to do with my successes or failures. whether i write poetry, blogs, a memoir, or nothing at all, whether i am recognized with awards or publication, or if i am rejected by a million editors, it doesn't define who i am.

i believe that in my spirit i somehow knew all of this, and that's why i have been okay with not writing. in my spirit is where Christ resides, and in his love is where i am finding my true self.

this blog is actually the first thing i've written that feels good to write. perhaps, if God is willing (and i believe he is) i will soon be writing poetry again too, although i know my writing process is going to be different since it will be coming from a new place, full of light, truth and life. and i'm looking forward to it.

For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. (Ephesians 5:8)

*i am not saying that God was angry at me or something --i'm not one to be duped by religious guilt and condemnation, but that's a blog for another day.