Keep Write On…

My love affair with words began long before I could read.  My mother said that when I was three years old, sitting on the floor watching the television in Seaford Delaware, I heard someone say “positively unique”.  For the next two weeks anything I saw or heard became positively unique.  When my mother got tired of hearing me parrot the saying over and over she said “…that’s not even the way you use it in a sentence,” to which I replied, “How do you use it in a sentence?”  For the next three years I’m told, every time I heard a new word or phrase I would run to my mother and ask her how to spell it and how to use it in a sentence.  By the time I entered kindergarten my mother began directing me to the dictionary.  Once I discovered the dictionary I would spend hours learning new words.  The words comforted me in a family of seven children where no matter how hard my father worked there was never enough.  There were always enough words. Words were my friends, they took me to different places, they taught me new things.  I loved the way they looked on paper, I loved the way they sounded coming out of my mouth.  I sang them, I shouted them, I whispered them.  I enjoyed putting my friends together and creating longer and more complex friends. When I was twelve years old I fell in love (or so I thought).  His shoulders were knobby and his balance must not have been too good because he seemed to always trip over his own feet.  I thought he was the most beautiful thing that God ever created.  He did not love me back.  My heart was broken and all I could do was tell my friends about it.  I don’t even remember what I wrote but I know that it was sappy and sweet and of unrequited love.  My friends comforted me.  I showed it to my mother, who seemed impressed and she introduced me to some friends of her own.  Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Zora Neal Hurston, Countee Cullen, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni and Paul Laurence Dunbar.  A whole new world opened up for me.  I fell head over heels in love with poetry.  I discovered that not only could my friends comfort they could inspire and make me laugh and through me they could do the same thing for others. I graduated from high school with the intention of taking my friends around the world, but life happened all over me, and things didn’t turn out the way I’d planned.  My desire to change the world with my friends got lost in the shuffle of living.  I still created poetry, I just kept it in a box in the back of my walk in closet and didn’t share it with anyone.  The man who became my husband and eventually my ex was not interested in my world of words.  My children had television and video games to keep them company.  Every chance I got, I continued to fill that box up with my friends in different configurations.  In 1999, as my children were in less need of my undivided attention, I ventured out to an open mic poetry reading at the (now defunct) Moon Room in Charlotte, NC.  I signed the sheet, stepped up to the mic and spoke tentatively “This is my first time, please be gentle with me…”  For the first time I stood before a crowd and I shared my friends with them.  My secret world was no longer a secret and I finally found a place where I belonged.   When I got the letter telling me that I didn’t get into the MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University that I attend, I felt like they were telling me that I’m not good enough or smart enough for their program.  I felt rejected and marginalized.  I cried.  Then I built a bridge and got over myself.  One thing that I know for sure is that when God closes a door He opens up a window or a chimney flue or something because He has plans for my life.  His plan is better than anything I could try to figure out.  So, I stopped crying.  This gift that I have, or rather this gift that has me, is for a purpose.  I use this big mouth that has gotten me into trouble many times to help, to encourage, to enlighten, to support, to defend.  I understand that sometimes the academic world (especially a PWI) is unable to catch the vision of the way some of us display our art.  I can’t let that stop me.  Will I re-apply?  Maybe.  Will I give up doing what I love? Never!  This gift that has me is important to the world not because of me, but in spite of me.  Recently, during my meditation I heard that still small Voice say to me “If you are looking for purpose, look to your gift.  Your purpose is to use your gift to the glory of the One who gave it to you.  So I’m gonna keep on writing and speaking.  And I will give God all the glory for where ever it takes me.


~ by Diva2de on March 10, 2014.

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