Ripping through flesh, mind, well built, well laid ideas: I love it. Reshaping the stubborn, breaking into the ignorant, yanking them through key-hole views to the other side of living in worlds they once judged: I love it. Getting through to someone, connecting with someone, clearly showing a reader another world with words: I love it. Breaking through the emotional barriers of individuals unknown to me. What better reason to be a writer.
I am not a fantastic writer.
I know this. However, I am above average. For the last seven years I can honestly say that I’ve been getting better, and I owe it to writing.com affectionately known as WDC. In Antigua, writing isn’t a particularly big deal. There are many writer, many good writers but the field is not one that a parent would every instruct a child to enter. (This can be said for all the arts.) Because of the prevailing negative ideas and attitudes towards the arts, bettering one’s self in a community of writers is not something which was available to me several years ago. Even now there are still very few gatherings where writers can be found sharing, networking or any other similar activities.
But online, the possibilities are endless, the chance to bump into another form of writing at every corner. So I began there. And I am happy I did. Though I am not in anyway a popular writer, or even a published writer (in terms of a book) I have been exposed to a great deal, and because I am.
Somehow, I still have great difficulty connecting with local writers. It could be that I’m just to weird, or my severe attachment to the internet that forces me to ask local writers where I can find their work online. Amazingly enough the answer is usually that their work isn’t, because they don’t want it to get stolen.
I am an adventurous writer?
In 2008, when I joined WDC and began posting my work there I tackled this dilemma of having my work stolen. Years later when after deciding to begin Shaziane is Poetry I tackled it again. At present, it is such a non-factor that I find the reasoning ridiculous. It’s 2015, the age of posting semi-nude images everywhere without thought, and you as a writer are afraid that someone will steal your work. Fine, that is not a valid rebuttal, I know. But limiting one’s self because of your fears will get you nowhere.
So here’s how I rationalized publishing my work online in 2008, and while setting up the poetry blog: Tomorrow’s piece will always be better than yesterday’s. If it’s not going to be then I should not call myself a writer. If someone thinks my work good enough to steal I will take it as a compliment. And good luck to them trying to rip off my style. Yes, I apparently think very much of my writing ability despite having nothing to show for it. Apparently, I think highly of the response of the readers who have responded to my writing both locally, and online. I do.
One heart is enough. One mind is worth it. One life is sufficient.
And though I haven’t touched hundreds (I don’t think so…at least not yet) I’ve touched enough persons to make me believe that the time I spend trying to become a better writer, a better observer, a better communicator is worth every iota. The poetry I write generally has a dark theme, and locally I am often asked: Why? Quite frankly, abuse is not paid enough attention and it isn’t taken as seriously as it should be. Receiving responses in which readers state that a piece made them feel understood and made them know they are not alone, or a piece made them better understand abuse is enough. That is the goal. Once the goal is achieved it is achieved.
My work and I are universal.
Abuse is non-discriminatory. Since that is the subject of (most) of my work why hide it. If I want to help more people, then I have to open myself to more readers and the internet is the greatest way to do so. There are very few pieces of mine which lend themselves to a distinct setting. Everything I write is easily transferable to other culture because hardly any of us live in worlds that are completely different from those outside.
In other words, why alienate myself from any audience? On the other side of fear, there is opportunity. Though I understand that theft of intellectual property is more real because of the internet I refuse to let that fear restrict me. So I share, and as I share I learn from the feedback of readers, and I gain new readers. Would I refuse to dry my clothes on a line for fear of theft even if I knew the would dry better there than anywhere else?
So I post online.
You can find my work online in a number of places. Most recently I took up the Poetry-A-Day Challenge issued by Writer’s Digest. Though the pieces aren’t my best work I posted them on my poetry blog. This lack of ‘perfection’ is a new element. But in my defence they are rushed. Feel free to tell me exactly what you think.
See you next week Tuesday when I’ll be posting about the spark to write.
Is there any topic you’d like me to speak on? Leave your comment in the comment section.