“We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important.”—N. Goldberg
When I was in high school, there was a girl, Kirsten H., who could write an essay in 5 pages, be succinct, thorough, and get an A. My essays were 20 pages long. “Blah, blah, blah…” I’d ramble on forever. I knew it, and it bothered me.
I joined AOL somewhere probably in 1994. I found a community called the 60-Second Novelist. The premise was that you could write short stories or poems within a certain word limit regarding a certain theme and win fame and recognition. Because I couldn’t write like Kirsten, I decided to give it a shot. I fell not only in love with the challenge, but the community and the experience as well
I eventually volunteered to be a part of the community. My initial charge was to help host chat rooms. My big splash was on Friday nights when we would do Mad Libs for an hour. There I’d be, typing out a story and gathering words from complete strangers. What an incredible place. It drove my husband nuts that I’d be sitting on the computer hosting a chat room on a Friday night.
Eventually, to avoid this pain point, I gravitated toward a forum and became a part of the Short Poetry staff. Everybody who submitted to our contests had to write a poem in 1000 words or less. It was always a challenge reading through the hundreds of submissions and picking the top three winners. I learned a lot, met lots of people, and participated in what you would call early social media. I worked message boards and mentored poets. I was a part of a living community, and my words had meaning.
The husband still didn’t like it. I’d print out pages and pages of poetry to sit, markup, and provide feedback. My attention was still not on him. I personally liked it because of the perks. I met awesome people. My creativity was constantly challenged. The possibilities were endless.
About 8 years ago, they stopped the program. I’ve missed it every day since. I miss writing down the bones. I miss having a voice.
This note is to serve notice that from this point on, I may be trying to find my soul and my voice again. I want to sing from my heart. I want to paint metaphors. I want to have meaning. I want to give birth to art. I hope you don’t mind the experiments that follow.
These words are but black-and-white…I’m simply shifting and morphing behind them, trying to capture the moment before it runs away.
Note: The snail in the picture is from our backyard pond. My husband was hacking away at plants in it, and this little guy found his way on the rocks. Normally, we just see empty shells. This guy was actually scooting along at a pretty good pace.