In the past week, it has come to my attention that those magnificent words that pop into a writer’s head when she/he is writing a poem are the words that come from the divine center of the writer. It is where the writer is at home. Where your inner child and your outer adult hold hands. It is in each of us.
When I was a teenager is when the miracle began happening. I can still remember a dark poem about death and evil that I wrote -- I think it was called “Hell’s Door." Although these are cliché subjects, it read similarly to Shakespeare’s style. At the time, I was (and still am) in admiration of the great poet. I wanted to emulate him in the worst way. When I sat down to write the deathly poem, it sounded like a combination of Edgar Allen Poe and Shakespeare. I thought I was stealing from the greats. I was, but the words that popped so willingly into my head were of my own creation!
I threw that poem away, thinking it was wrong to imitate. Now, I know that when we read William Shakespeare, or even Stephen King, what we admire of them penetrates our core, so that we take those authors’ ways of expression into our souls. In short, we learn to write brilliantly. We learn this because those authors’ works have on some level touched our hearts. As I write this article, I can sense author Elizabeth Berg coming through. She writes simply, and from the heart. I am not doing this on purpose. Or am I? It is her heart that guides the direction of her stories, and I’m guessing the direction of her life as well.
That said we are here to make connections, and to help others learn to use their hearts for guidance. Another way our writer’s mind collects relevant information is from life experience. At one time, my head was filled with depression. I used to worry about pleasing others (still do). How often I’d heard, “writers don’t succeed.” I thought everyone in the world had the desire to write, so I suspected this was why the competition was so stiff.
Back then, I used the excuse that “writers never make it” to conceal the fact that I was ashamed, in a sense, of my writing tendencies -- who would want to read my “depressing” stuff? Now, I understand that human emotions run the gamut of depressing and corny. Yes, you might often hear, “writers don’t succeed.” But this is like saying, “human understanding doesn’t succeed.”
Writers (and their human understanding) do succeed. From their divine centers, where any generation exists, writers speak shared truths, connecting us in a universal bond forever “paid forward” in space and time. If we aren’t here to care and share, what are we here for?