The first poems I ever wrote were pitiful creatures.
I wrote of my sister, my desperation to be like her, perfect like her, because of the love my mother had for her. I wrote of feeling out of place, a wind unable to settle, a foundation with nowhere to sit, a longing for a place I couldn’t find because I didn’t know how to look for it. Because I wasn’t sure yet what that place might be.
Writing the pain, the level of rejection I felt, burned and like a fire, like bright anger, it’s easiest to catch. It doesn’t take much to make a forest fire of emotion, one by one, sadness, guilt, jealousy piled. Oh I made them sing like a deaf choir, a skipping record.
A tsunami of my worst voices to drown out the sound of my heart, which worked tirelessly to guide me.
Writing the worst experience is easy. It was easier to count what went wrong than to define what went right. It was easier to cry than find a single reason to smile. It was easy to be angry and hurt and vengeful — to carve each tainted word into the paper.
It was easy, easy, easy, to write my misery.
It’s everything I avoided writing that should have been said.
The poems I couldn’t get right on paper, the ones that made me want for days gone by or hope for ones that didn’t exist yet. Poems that realized the beauty when there wasn’t pain, where the right words together were like two girls giggling in secret. Poems about all the ways I wasn’t broken.
I should have written about love. I should have captured the ray of light that settled on my heart, the warmth of a kind gesture, an undying hope. It’s the happiness, the gratitude, the stubbornness of dreams, that are hardest to write.
It was easier to say “You hurt me” than “I wish you would touch me.” Easier to ask “Why weren’t you there for me?” than “Thank you for loving me.” It was easier to be bitter, sad, put out by all the wrong. It was easy as pie to lament, regret, ruminate.
I should have written about the good days, about the ways we loved, we laughed, we survived. It’s hard, hard, hard, to write of the happy parts.
As a world-wielder, a story-conjurer, it’s your duty to write like a human.
It’s a calling, a necessity, because life is not a black hole of doom. Broken hearts eventually mend, tears stop and dry on the cheeks, People will drag themselves from the dirt and carry on. They love and laugh and live. Humans shatter and rebuild, again and again.
Write poetry that becomes the glue for broken hearts. Create worlds where people have a chance to survive, where nothing is certain and anything is possible. Tell stories that will reflect the spirit of your readers, speak to their hopes, not just their failings.
So, when you pick up your pen to craft your next story, please write like a human.