It’s been a while. The year has begun to slip through my fingers and I can barely catch it before it escapes me. Tomorrow is my birthday, and I’m writing this from my roof sunblind and nostalgic and terrified of something I haven’t found a name for yet. Still, I’m looking for a name.
I realise, today, on the precipice of ageing that I’ve been letting my life (my complicated and painful and often, lately, wonderful life) merely happen to me. I realised, today, sat on my roof and compiling this month’s tarot poems letter and browsing instagram instead of doing a myriad of other things tripping onto my to do to list that I’ve been calling myself a writer more often than I’ve been proving it. Now, there’s something innately powerful about naming yourself something, but despite actually writing near constantly my output has slowed. I haven’t been shouting my name. My submissions have been growing scarce. My muse has become shy.
Of course, I have a job, and a degree to study for, and these things are also huge passions of mine. But writing is my soul.
I’ve been holding onto my poetry collection, All The Words I’ve Found For Hunger for almost six months now, agonising over whether it is perfect enough, mustering the courage to submit it. But today I discovered what was truly holding me back. I’m frightened of my lack of audience, and how easy that makes me easy to reject. I can’t churn out post after post of pretty instagram quote poems and I’ve never had the longevity to amass much of a blog following. The widest audience I’ve ever had was for writing (rather good, I might add) Buffy fanfiction around the age of 14. But the only way to gain notoriety is to not let yourself be forgotten.
My fellow poet and wonderful friend, the inexplicably talented Topaz Winters recently decided to self publish her latest book, portrait of my body as a crime I’m still committing, after strings of rejection from traditional publishers. We spent two wonderful evenings this month eating and writing postcards and dismantling the universe together, in a cafe and in an American-themed diner, and more than her incredible talent and intelligence I was struck by her honesty and her drive. She pours herself out into the world in the form of poetry, and in many ways, I’m still learning how to do the same. My instinct is to covet and hide. And that’s fine for some things, words that are written as a way of coping with existence. But some of it needs to leave my body and be breathed in by someone else.
I want to talk more regularly, and more openly about who I am, where I am, why I bother. I actually have a deeply exposing article about mental and physical health I’ve been working on for a while that I am nervously excited to share, and I am pulling together some self-exposing short stories, too. (I’m studying short stories on my lit course as we speak and it is altering and growing every word I write into something More, every moment.)
For now, I just need to be freer.
For the last couple of days, I’ve been responding to prompts on tumblr (@bohemicns and @celestiologies) with poems and short prose. About girlhood, and water, and stars and love and being incorrigible. Keep the prompts coming, I want to write you something short and rough beautiful.
And also, since I never actually shared it publically, I’m posting my competition winning short story, In the Absence of Moonlight here on my website, so everyone can read it and borrow a piece of it for themselves. I hope it makes you bleed.
I swear I will share more. I swear I will continue to build something open and raw and beautiful.
Thank you for your patience.
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