I could list the topic of this post as:
How to be your own cheerleader.
Or – Learning to dislike your own stuff just a little bit less.
Thanks to all of you reading my scribbles here and on other spaces, I have slooowly been growing towards sharing more of the real me through my writing. I am putting myself out there more and more and worrying less and less that I may be trivial or just get laughed at or….heaven help me…pitied.
Getting older (and meaner some may say….who? List is long-ish. Are they wrong? Probably not…) has pulled the teeth on some of my insecurities. I just can’t be bothered to worry about a lot of things that used to loom before like huge zeppelins. I have broken spaces and cracks inside me, but so does everyone. And like Leonard says, that’s how the light gets in….
One of the other ways I fill myself with light is reading (and in this case hearing) the writing, the really most highly excellent writing, of other wordsmiths. The term is particularly applicable to Andrea Gibson.
If I ever get to a point where I think ….Wow! I AM a big deal…..and start to strut about, getting all headswollen and full of sh….myself. One quick read through Andreas body of work will pop an overinflated ego faster than any pin. She’s passionate, she’s brilliant, she’s timely and I should hate her. Except the chills that I get up my neck every time I read – they just won’t let me. Even better, even more “jaw dropped sitting there stunned and lit up inside” is to hear her speaking in that unmistakable voice. Please – never change Andrea.
One side effect of not being so hard on myself anymore is a full and fine appreciation of other writers. Instead of dropping me into that sticky imnotgoodenough quagmire, it simply leaves me feeling grateful that there are so many people writing such things in the world. Which inspires me to write more. And, as in this case, share more.
Read this, then listen. Or listen and then read. Let me know what you think. Or merely sit there stunned….
As I smile. And turn another page.
*artwork by T. Forsman*
My uncle Billy is the leading Little Debbie’s snack cake salesman in all of North America.
From Miami, Florida to Vancouver, British Colombia, Nobody
sells more fudge rounds, Swiss rolls or nutty bars than him.
My family is incredibly proud of this fact
We tell it to strangers,
to the respective husbands of our nieces,
to the clerk at the drugstore,
we whisper it in church,
‘Did you hear about Billy? Yeah, he’s the leading Little Debbie’s snack cake salesman in all of North America.’
And I will never write a poem that will ever come close to matching the grandeur of that.
So you won the Nobel Prize, did ya? That’s nice. Did you hear Billy put six hundred cream pies on the rack of a shop’n’save in 3 days – that rack was freakin’ empty
is art the first class to be dropped by any public school?
Why are music rooms empty in junior highs from New York City to Nashville, Tennessee?
can you burn CD after CD after CD while filling your tank with an infinite amount of gas?
Like the war is worth funding but music isn’t?
Our culture is a prison.
And the only one with the key is little Emi Jones, covering every inch of her standardised test with the best number 2 pencil version of a starry night anyone has ever seen and yes,
there is a humming bird in her chest.
Its wings are beating 80 times a second.
But the second you and I will see that Doctor King did not write a speech called I Have a Dream – he wrote a poem called I Have a Dream.
Y’all, I don’t know if God will have a purple heart, but I know we have a bow
we could pull above the strings of a combat boot and make it sing
like the eyes of a 7 year old boy
staring down the barrel of Apartheid’s loaded guns;
Screaming for the right to write stories; to sing songs in his Mother’s tongue
Point me in the direction of glory
I will run towards a tiny hand in the most wounded corner of Palestine,
dipping a brush in to a can of yellow paint
to paint a feather on a wing on a wall that is so tall, only yellow birds can escape
And when they do, they carry the hearts of little girls on their backs.
and when their wings flap, they make the sound of anthems being replaced with sky.
And I swear, I could see their shadows pass across your glowing face
the night you said you have never given birth to a child
but you tear every single time you write a poem.
We are growing our future
with every borrowed pen
I pray tonight we could write a rain that would fall like the tears at Folsom State Prison the day Johnny Cash smashed his guitar over apathy’s head.
The way Frida Kahlo – in the prison of her own body – had whole years where she could paint nothing but red
but she painted
to the bars in the locked cells of her pores.
The same when saxophones in New Orleans played music underwater,
knowing some of those notes would rise up to the air carrying people and hope to shore.
Y’all, I don’t believe in the godliness of steeples, but I believe in the stain glass
and every key on every organ that is desperate for light ‘cause we are desperate for life –
for the sight of a captivated audience refusing to be held captive in the thought that they can only listen and watch.
Picasso said he would paint with his own wet tongue on the dusty floor of a jail cell if he had to.
We have to create;
it is the only thing louder than destruction;
it is the only chance the bars are gonna break.
Our hands full of colour
reaching towards the sky – a brush stroke in the dark
It is not too late
That starry night – it is not yet dry. ~ andrea gibson