I’ve struggled recently to put into words why I feel the need to publish what I write, why it isn’t enough to write just for me. Why do I want to seek publication for my writing, why doesn’t my blog feel like enough of a place for that? I think it’s ultimately a thirst for human connection, the desire to touch another person through my writing. I’ve read SO much and been touched so often in unexpected ways, sometimes by just a phrase, and I want to put myself out there and share, in the hopes of touching someone else.
Last Saturday I had a really super awesome experience that made me say, “Yes, I’m a real writer,” at the same time I got tears in my eyes. I wrote a poem and posted it on Twitter for #vss365. The prompt was the word “poleaxe,” of all things, and it was inspired by an unexpected but powerful resurgence of grief I’d had earlier in the week. Here’s the poem:
is a poleaxe
to the heart
that keeps coming
but never kills,
ready to strike
Not long after I published that tweet, a got a private message from someone on Twitter asking if she could share my poem. She was in India, which is having a really bad time with COVID right now, and had been touched by my words; she thought her friends might as well.
I wrote a tweet-length poem in a few minutes, and people halfway around the world experiencing immense grief got comfort from my simple words. It’s incredible, really, and I am so grateful this internet stranger took the time to tell me what my poem meant to her. So many writers never know, and I don’t expect to always get this kind of reaction – but THIS is why I want to share what I write.
You are so right, Kristin. We write because we want to share ourselves, our thoughts and feelings. When we connect with someone and they are touched by those words, it makes it all worthwhile. Your poem is wonderful and all the more so because it left its mark on someone, enough for them to reach out and tell you so.
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