During my vacation in Penticton, B.C., I met a woman who owned a clothing store and after a small hiatus from writing, she pointed me in the direction of The Courage to Create by Rollo May. I was able to get this 70’s gem from the library and am in the midst of carefully reading it since it is in rough condition. Rollo May speaks of the ways we limit ourselves and how we can stop. I haven’t read that far into it, so I don’t have the answers yet. However, the desire to release any limitations in my writer-self has brought some strange experiences my way…
I was fortunate enough to volunteer at When Words Collide, an annual Calgary literary event. As I spent four hours at the Alberta Writer’s Guild information table, not only was I surrounded by delicious looking books, but I was able to meet many interesting people/authors while I was there. One of the women who greeted me was a poet and she bravely asked if she could recite a poem for me. I willingly obliged and she began to read me a poem titled, “Body Image”. I have had my fair share of issues on this topic and here before me was a woman reciting to me with everything she had about how she was reclaiming power over her curves. I grinned from ear to ear as I listened and gave her wild applause when she was finished. She had brought together an vulnerable topic, brought forth through a vulnerable form of art and she walked up to a total stranger and expressed herself fully. I felt as though her poem was speaking directly to me, and I made a connection with her that day. We exchanged information and she graciously gave me her published book of poetry.
Yesterday, I was able to go to a free all-day workshop with our poet laureate, Kris Demeanor. It was called, Poetry Floats. My friend notified me about it at the last minute and the Universe conspired to get me there, including the availability of babysitters. I spent all day writing poetry, talking about form and was able to release it to the fountains at Olympic Plaza. I was in the company of a variety of people who had life stories better than fiction. A room full of people searching for creative freedom, and at the end of the day, one of them approached me. She was someone who translated poetry from the 1500’s into English and set it to classical music. She had her training in classical music and works at the conservatory in the museum. She asked me how long I had been writing and said she could tell that my work was more mature than the others she thought. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised, since I thought everyone in the room had amazing talent. Earlier in the day, she had mentioned a quote that said: ” To finish a painting is to kill it.” She also said that there was a tradition where ladies of a particular culture leave one mistake in the quilts they make as a gesture to be humble before God. In that moment, I realized I had been trapped in perfectionism. Perhaps the poems I write will never be finished and that is OKAY! It was a revelation. All of this time I have been trying to meet the caliber of the other poetic voices that float around in my brain that aren’t mine. All of this time I have been trying to perfect each poem, instead of getting it to where it asks to be. Right now I am abandoning “not good enough” and transforming it into “this is art”, “this is enough”, “I feel great creating!”. In little more than a day, this has opened up a part of me that is filled with poetry and I cannot get the words out fast enough like a flood, and you know, poetry does float.
NOTE: Registration for our workshops is still OPEN! If you want to register, comment on this blog or email us OR if you want more information check out the workshops tab on the home page.