Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Writing Feeds My Soul

"Writing is...what I do to justify the air I breathe." --Nikki Giovanni

I call myself a "mommy blogger" because it is catchy and it is descriptive. I am a mother who blogs. However, in reality, I am a writer who found blogging. For me, writing is a necessity. Fortunately, for my sake, I found have an audience with this blog.

Writing makes my life make sense. It always has. Still, for a long time, I wrote in silence and under the cloak of secrecy. I was too shy to have my words read by others.  My, how things have changed. I now tell the world about how my child might have consumed feces… 

There are several reasons for that, but one is  Cave Canem.
Cave Canem is the premier organization for Black poets in this country and one of the most influential organizations for writers in the country. Because of this organization I have had the privileged to meet and get to know very accomplished writers who humble me.

I am honored to call Toi Derricotte a friend. I have also had the great honor and privilege to dine with Sapphire who wrote Push,  which was brought to the big screen by the movie "Precious". She actually wished me well during my pregnancy. Last year, I met Natasha Tretheway who recently became the US Poet Laureate. She signed my book and was quite charming.  I admired her because her courageous poetry belied her delicate exterior.  If I close my eyes I can still hear her voice.

Last month at a Cave Canem event, I met Nikki Giovanni who shared stories of her son and made me wish that I had taken the opportunity to meet her years ago when I used to visit an old boyfriend at Virginia Tech where she was a professor instead of trying to impress that boyfriend by meeting random engineering professors. I also heard Nikki Finney who won the National Book Award last year share her poem about how a movie about penguins reminded her of how her own mother fed her as a child. Her tale reminded me of my relationship with my own daughter and how I do whatever it takes to nourish her body and spirit.  

And highlights of highlights, Thomas Sayers Ellis kissed my hand and told me that I was “very pretty”.  True or not, his style and grace made me feel like a queen. Also, his words were especially sweet because I was on a high after hearing him read his poetry with a style that he mesmerized the room. I know that mentioning his comment sounds shallow in comparison to my other comments. However, I am a mom who doesn’t get out much. Poets are known for being deliberate with words. So, to have him call me pretty mattered. Don’t judge me!

My experiences with Cave Canem have been so amazing that I have to pinch myself to remind me that they really happened. I have learned lessons about life, learning and poetry that I hope to teach my daughter. Most importanly, I have learned that Life is an amazing journey with inspiration for poetry all around us if we would just pay attention. 

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