A renowned poet a visited our college campus yesterday. As she read her poems I was blown away by the beauty of the words. She was born in Jamaica and spoke in patwa throughout some of the pieces. Her grasp of language sounded like music. I was in my own kind of heaven.
It brought me back to a time where I would have considered myself a poet. In high school I lived for poetry and probably wrote about 300 poems over just a few years. I look back on them and find that they are all rather simplistic and silly.
Unfortunately, I now have that reaction with essentially all of my writing. While I love being a literature major, it has in many ways robbed me of any confidence I once had in my ability to write. One would assume that the more you read the more skilled you become in your own writing. I am sure that this is true, however, when you are exposed to such an expansive and deep breath of literature, anything you write suddenly appears elementary. Truth be told, I have not written a poem in over a year and a half---I so anticipate the feeling of inadequateness that I don't even attempt creative writing anymore.
Something the poet said last night was that, as writers, we all must come to a place where we truly believe that we have something to say that is worthy of being heard; that we have something to contribute to the world of literature; that we have a voice that counts. I realized then that despite my deep appreciation for the written word and my longing to be a good writer, I have lost (or perhaps never completely found) some of these fundamental beliefs.
I have talked before about finding and believing in my voice and I think it is a journey that I am only now truly beginning to travel. It is a slow process, but I believe I am on my way. I hope I will one day have the courage to be a poet again.