I was seventeen years old the day I wrote the poem.
I remember that day well. It was one of those impressionable days, the kind that engrave themselves kindly inside of you. It was quiet — his class was always quiet — but that day was especially reverent. I went there daily, the obvious reason being because I was taking his course, the other because it had become my sanctuary. In those days I needed a safe place. I still do.
It was November, I think, and a snowfall had just begun outside. My seat was beside the window so I could see the flakes floating down and I was tired, yet wide awake. There weren’t very many serious writers in the class. Most of the kids were taking it because they thought it would be easy. I was taking it because I thought I might be found.
That’s usually why I write.
He started off the class in his habitual way, encouraging the use of the dash and the word ought. And then he said, just like he’d said all the days before, ”And remember, when you write: write from what you know.”
It’s the best writing advice I’ve been given, unbeknownst to me at the time. Because I didn’t know a lot then, not really. I hadn’t experienced pain or trauma or heartbreak. I didn’t know how I could write from what I knew, when all I seemed to know felt so terribly uninspiring.
I did know words held power. I knew this because of how their power had affected me. There are words I’ve read in books that I could quote to you, words that have impressed themselves deep into the folds of who I am. They didn’t make me feel happy or sad, which is exactly why they stayed with me. They made me feeling something I’d never felt before.
Those are the kind of words I want to write.
PS. For anyone who has been following my brave momma's journey... today is her FINAL treatment. She will be ALL DONE everything -- chemotherapy and surgery and radiation! We cannot even celebrate enough. God is good, God is good, God is good. Just praising Him. Just thanking Him. Just so extraordinarily and abundantly grateful for this miracle and this healing and this remarkable life we each have been given.
This is day seven. You can find the rest of this series right here.
If you like this post, consider getting the rest of this series dropped right into your inbox. You can sign up here. And don't worry, I'll never give your email out to anyone. Ever. [madmimi id=2]