When I started this phase of blogging a few weeks ago, I did so with one goal in mind: to write at least four entries a week. Write in any style, any genre that struck me. I never really imagined that poetry would be the dominant form on my blog. In my entire life, up until the last week in April, I’d written a grand total of six poems. Most of those have been lost and forgotten. All of them, really, save one. I’ll get to that in a minute, though.
Writing can be both exhilarating and dangerous. Most writers understand the exhilaration of producing something that seems to connect, at least on some small level, with at least one other person. It is the primary reason why many write. There remains a certain power in the ability arrange words on a page in such a way that others see it, take it in, and are moved by it. Because of this this, danger lurks.
I believe the most important component in any writer’s craft is, and always will be, the audience that reads the message, not just the arrangement of words. Anyone who writes must understand this. After all, if I write simply for myself, I would have a diary not a blog or a book or a poem. While I write in part to sooth the emotions and experiences roiling through my life, I publish on a blog in hopes that others might see what I write and be moved by it. My success depends in part on my ability to write creatively, lyrically, or elegantly, sending my stories into the world like messages in bottles floating through the ocean of humanity. But the real test of my ability is the individuals who see those messages and open up the bottles to see what’s inside. After that, all bets are off.
Once the audience reads the message, it becomes entirely theirs. They take my clever hooks and convoluted structures and add their own experiences to mine. Whatever I intended to say when I wrote the message no longer matters. What matters is the way the message is received, and how it is interpreted.
Writing takes thought, patience, craft-all of which are in short supply where I’m concerned. I really struggle to find the right tone, the right turn of phrase, the right message; and, if I don’t find those ideas, the audience doesn’t benefit. My message becomes just another bit of ocean clutter.
To illustrate this, I leave you with that old poem I mentioned before, one I wrote in my mid twenties, when I was still young enough to maintain optimism without the stresses of a life lived too carelessly. For me, this poem is about forgiveness and grace, two long misunderstood ideals. Tell me, what does it mean to you?
Perfect blood pouring
Heart crouched at the foot of
Death. Two sides bridged by Love.