On Calling Ourselves Writers

gypsy-rose-lee-1941-women-at-typewriter

Davy D is off this week because of work and family commitments.  I look forward to his thoughtful weekly posts as they both stimulate my thinking as well as my creativity.  I know that many of you look forward to these posts as well and I thought I would try to fill Davy’s formidable shoes this week.

An important part of my journey over the last year has been the transformation in my own thinking about myself as a middle-aged woman who happens to write a little to thinking of myself as a writer and a poet.  We have talked a bit already here about whether we can claim the title “poet” or whether it is a title that needs to be bestowed.  I want to dig a little deeper this week into what it means to understand “writer” and/or “poet” to be part of our core identity.  A truth as essential as the color of our eyes or which hand we write with.

Other people on WordPress took me seriously as a writer long before I did.  Their naming of me, that gift of such a title was a profound awakening and inspired the poem below that I wrote in November.  Tell me about your journey– when did you understand you were a writer?  What has that meant for you?

On Becoming A Writer

Sometimes, adopting the names ‘writer’ and ‘poet’
Led her to encounters with the most amazing minds
Connecting her with a larger community

At other times she thought that ‘writer’ and ‘poet’
Were the loneliest names she had ever called herself
Waking up every morning
To unzip her chest, her gut
And bare her truths to the world
Because like others of her kind
She was complex, messy, containing
Multiple truths, not a singular one

Sometimes she felt like she was writing
To a small group of intimate friends
At others times,
She felt like she was calling out her truths
Into an empty desert landscape
Without even a coyote or armadillo
To hear her words before they fell away
Forlorn and unread
Unheard and unacknowledged
Rendering the writer, the poet herself
Invisible, diminished somehow

She was always struck by the juxtaposition
Of her physical body negotiating
Close suburbs,
Crowded subways and jostling city sidewalks
On the way to her day job
While her heart and mind
Wandered in the isolated wilderness
While errant words and wisps of dreams
And drops of feelings like rich, red blood
Continued to seep out of her

© 2016 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

12 thoughts on “On Calling Ourselves Writers

  1. You used a topic of discussion as a means for a poem – one that signifies identity and a belonging. I think That’s bloody incredible. So too is the poem.

    ” Tell me about your journey– when did you understand you were a writer? What has that meant for you?”

    For me, writing was born of out my passion for criticism, an opinion on everything, love for fiction novels, as well as thrillers. Also, out of my interest in video games, which I wrote about for a magazine during university and for a short period thereafter – professionally. Since then, it’s been a case of writing as a profession within the tech world. But more personal and interesting to me are my blogs and poems on both WordPress and Instagram, which have nothing to do with the aforementioned topics.

    It took a while for me to identify as a writer, and much like a great deal of other people out there, my self-criticism and desire to never finish my work – to never be settled with it – to keep going with it, this was something that held back that title from me. I embrace it now. As a stereotype, as a calling, as something I am to the core of my being because I truly love writing. As well as reading the works of others. Like yours.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I loved this Christine. I wrote from the time I was young–diaries, secret things, but never then thought myself a writer. I just liked it. And many years later, some new things happened in my life, and I had to write about them. Maybe to make them real. And all of a sudden, I knew I had to write to make myself real. It was what I needed to do to be who I felt I really was all these years.

    My poetry happened by sheer chance and blessings of people I was reading on Twitter. I wanted to do it and had just never really tried. But inside I knew I could do it–just had to take the leap. And with encouragement of kind people I did. And I have never been more happy to have gone out on a limb.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Poetry in Motion | Go Dog Go Café

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