I used to delete almost everything I wrote.
It’s a habit hard to shake; even now I flick through documents of words, my words, and I want to pretend they were never written.
But at the time they meant something. They probably still do, if I read them with the right eyes rather than the harsh light I’ve been shedding on each letter. It’s funny how many things I’ve written and how many I’ve lost.
I’ve been so focused on the word-count, on what a novel ‘should’ be, on whether my writing sounds like writing. But if it sounds like writing does it sound like me?
This blog has helped me find my writing voice. It has helped me embrace poetry. It has helped me embrace short bits and pieces that don’t have context for anyone but me. And it has taught me that all these things have a place in the world.
I think instead of deleting those small things I write, I should put them in a book and call them poetry. When I was in high school, books like that were my secret love, but there weren’t enough around to keep me full. Don’t give me Australian poetry or Shakespeare’s sonnets (though these have their important place, too), give me a stanza about how love is like riding a bike. Give me a paragraph about walking home, about childhood, about wonder. Give me lines that have no context but resonate with me regardless.
Give me a poem that a child could understand. Could hope for. Could write themselves. Give me simple and small and beautiful. Give me rain on a tin roof, fire on a cold night. Give me the time it takes for the kettle to boil, give me patience as you wait for the tea to steep. Tell me why you don’t like popcorn, or why you do. Tell me why today is extraordinary, why the future is calling.
These things mean something.
I have been so motivated to write lately. In the past two days, I’ve written about 3,000 words for my novel – the novel that I’ve been struggling to be friends with all year. But something is different; I feel refreshed, motivated, and ready to tell the story that I feel called to write. And if that involves scribbling down some poetry on the way, who am I to complain?