One year ago today, I wrote my first post in my own true voice!
Technically, I suppose, I started this blog during the preceding summer. But over the first eight months, I made a grand total of five posts — and not until March 30, 2014 did I manage to write something that actually felt like me speaking. So I’m putting down those early efforts as the blogger’s equivalent of preview days at a theater: glorified final dress performances before the official Opening Night.
That first “official” post also managed to do what Blogging for Dummies-style advice generally recommends new sites do fairly early, which is to clarify who one’s target/dream audience is. Unsurprisingly, my clarity came in a poetically unclear package. (Worked for me, though, so I’m asking that you just go along with me on this claim!) In blogging as in every medium, a writer writes well for no one until she writes well for someone — or some ones — in particular.
At the time that I wrote this short prose-poem, I had fewer than five followers, and it’s only been viewed a handful of times since. So, with your indulgence, I’m reposting it after the jump.
Consider this an out-of-season birthday present from me to all of you!
[Oh — and while this hopefully goes without saying, I’ll say it just in case: #NotAllMen.]
The heart I hold tightly within my chest, tightly holds me back.
This is our song.
The art and the work and the words I am here to do have been buried by the aggressions of men. By the bodies of men. By the silencings of men. By the refusal of their eyes to see, and their ears to hear. By my own belief that had I only asked politely, respectfully, with clarity of vision and specificity of language: only then would I have received the gatekeeper’s permission. Only then would it be proper and permissible for me to seize my own heart and dance myself to exuberant annihilation upon the beaches of my own dreams, that heart clutched tight within my ribs, its steady thumping the pulse to which my feet move.
I am done speaking to the bodies of men. To the helpmeets of men. Let them listen, if they choose. The high careening wail and exultation of my throat’s song is not meant for them.
I stand now. Angry, outraged, exultant. I may steal your words — steal his words — but the language I shout on dark nights to brilliant stars is my own.
He may listen —
but he is damned before he understands.
March 30, 2014
ABOUT THE ARTIST
The featured image is a photograph of Bridget Benton‘s encaustic piece Light as a Feather, Strong as a Wing. Bridget is a Portland, Oregon-based artist, writer, teacher, and self-described “creativity junkie.” For Pacific Northwest residents: if you find yourself in Portland any time between now and April 26, I encourage you to stop by her show at the Guardino Gallery and check out her new encaustic/mixed media work.
Bridget is also the author of an award-winning book on artmaking and creative flow, The Creative Conversation: ArtMaking as Playful Prayer. She leads workshops on creativity around the country (learn more here) and, starting on April 20, will be facilitating a 14-week online workshop and support circle for artmakers and other creatives (learn more here).
[In the interests of disclosure, I should let you know that Bridget is also a long-time friend of mine — which means that I’ve had the chance to watch her practice develop and deepen over a number of years. The work she produces, and the compassion and insight she brings to her teaching, consistently blow me away.]