Creative Writing Away From Home

So today I showed a family member some of what I’ve accomplished over the last few weeks. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve always been a little apprehensive about showing people – even family members or close friends – my work, and this time was no different. I sat on the couch while she read it (a poem),  fiddling anxiously with a loose thread trailing from one of the cushions. I studied her face, trying to interpret her expressions. Would she like it? Was it even any good? Was I a good writer?

I guess these are some of the questions that lurk at the back of the mind of every writer.  For me, at least, my writing is always inextricably linked to me as a person – criticism can sometimes feel like a personal dig. It’s jarring to think that a piece of work that is important to you, that you’ve worked tirelessly on night after night, week after week, could be harshly criticized or even completely dismissed by someone.

In this case, my family member actually did end up liking the poem I’d showed her. She had a few criticisms, or “personal preferences,” as she called them – pointing out a line she thought had an excessive amount of adjectives, for one, or suggesting I clarify an obscure reference – but ultimately her reaction was positive.

These last few weeks have been alternately frustrating and illuminating. It was hard to jump back into writing at first – writing for myself, that is, not for any class or scholarship contest or club commitment – and I suffered from a bad bout of writer’s block for the first few days back home. But this time has also allowed me to articulate my thoughts and feelings regarding writing in a much more concrete way. I can now speak to the fact that I love that poetry, as a medium, relies just as much on the sound of its words and phrases and how they link together as it does its substance. I love that writing short scenes – vignettes- allows you to capture a range of emotions in what is essentially a quick snapshot of your life. Writing is, and will be, always an integral part of who I am, and I’m happy I got the chance to do something that I’m truly passionate about during my senior project.

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