Are You Ready To Go Public?

If this feels like a big responsibility and scary, well, it is. Only you, as the poet/writer/artist can decide when and if you are ready to go public with your work. Admitting to someone that you are a writer or poet, often elicits the question “Have you published anything?” The questioner doesn’t get it–the reason(s) behind your writing or art-making.  First and foremost, it has to be for yourself.  Being published is a goal though it doesn’t make you a writer or poet. It is through your daily practice and developmental process that the writer and poet in you grows and lends validity to what you do–write.  You really don’t need to explain this to anyone. However, it’s important that you understand this.

That said, going public is a big thing for a writer.  Once you’ve made the declaration, told several people that you are writing a book or that you are a poet, you’ve become visible in a different way. This could feel like something grand to live up to.

Anaïs Nin‘s famous quote:  

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”Iris

Every womb becomes too “tight” as you personally grow and evolve.  You know best when it’s time to birth your writing, poetry or art into the world.

There are safe “entry” points for sharing your work.  A relatively new and trusted woman friend once asked me to read every poem I’d ever written to her.  She wanted to know me better and what my life had been.  My poetry is what has been termed “personal poetry”.  One afternoon, we took a quiet couple of hours and I read my life on paper to her.  She was the perfect audience–present, receptive, without judgment.  It was, for me, a welcoming and validating experience.

PROMPT:  Are you ready to go public?  What would that look like?  Is there a venue locally where you could safely share your writing?  Some possible venues are:  A round robin reading at a coffee house; an intimate gathering with a few other friends who write and want to practice reading aloud for an audience; your own poetry circle; an open mic or your own blog.  You can also begin with sharing one poem, a piece of prose or a painting with a trusted friend. Can you think of other ways to comfortably begin sharing your work?

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“Courage starts with showing up
and letting ourselves be seen.”
Brene Brown, Researcher, Story-Teller, Author, Lecturer

Being Alright With Looking Foolish!

IMG_9111This blog and the two following indirectly touch on the subject of  VULNERABILITY.  For when you share your work–painting, poetry, prose, thoughts, woodwork, sculpture, write a blog, etc., you are being vulnerable.

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It was deep winter in the mountains. An elder friend was in hospice care, settled in a home further north of where I live. The roads were impassable.

While I longed to visit her, I didn’t want to put myself in jeopardy.  Instead, I painted, not knowing where I would go or what needed expression.  Before long, I found myself painting with my fingers…and, of all things, a pink cow!  To this day, I don’t know why I was compelled to paint a pink cow using my fingers.  The tactile experience of painting with my fingers seemed essential.  This creative process helped me to transform the feeling of helplessness in regards to being unable to visit my friend.

Why did this help?  I don’t have an answer.  Some things really do dwell in the mystery or the deep unconscious and cannot be fathomed.  Perhaps they are before words.

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Poetry has also provided this sort of harmonizing effect for me.  When my father-in-law was dying, I turned to poetry.  Trying to understand my relationship with my parents or to make some sense of a long-term marriage that was ending, I turned to poetry.  Journal writing has been invaluable to me when facing life’s incongruities.  However, like painting, poetry has a way of containing wayward emotions while transforming them.

WRITING PROMPT:
For your journal:  Has art and/or writing and poetry helped you to express, uplift or in some way transform your difficult feelings?  Can you tolerate looking foolish in order to express and then share something that is deeply felt?

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Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.
Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
Brene Brown, Researcher, Story-Teller, Author, Lecturer