Discovering the Relevance of Words
When you sit down to write, do you ever think about where your words might go? What kind of lives they’ll lead? I do. I think about it every time I begin a new poem. I think to myself what will happen to these words if I die suddenly, or Steven Colbert happens across my work and decides to give me the famous Colbert bump? Is this something I want the world to read? Are these the words that I want to be known for? Will people understand? Am I the type of person who needs my words understood? When those thoughts cease, I put pen to paper and write, regardless of the possible outcomes.
I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of writing that I never want the world to see. There are nights when I stay up all night listening to Ice Cube and Biggie Smalls and then try my hand at writing gangsta rap. The next day I read over the lyrics and the only thing that stops me from deleting them is the fact that I believe no one will ever read them. But what if I die that night and my mother opens my laptop days later to the most horrific group of adjectives that she ever laid eyes on? Some writing, most writing, is just for myself, but when I sit down to write I can’t help but imagine the journey that my words might take. Will my words inspire a struggling addict to kick the habit? Will my words inspire a young man to drop the ball and pursue the arts and humanities? It is more likely that no body will ever read them, but there is always a chance that my next piece will be the last piece I ever write or that I will become famous overnight and all of my new and previous works will be tied to a chair and beaten with reeds by ignorant critics. I am of the opinion that there are people out there who only recognize beauty if they see something that society tells them is beautiful. These same people perceive poetry in this same manner. To them, words are simply words unless they are being said by someone who matters.
Regardless of what might happen to our words, it is imperative that we say them. As human beings, we write because we have a need to express ourselves. I don’t write because it might make me famous. I don’t write because I crave the approval of my readers. I write because I have words that need to be said. I have stories that need to be told and emotions that need to be expressed. It’s ok to think about what might happen to your words but don’t censor yourself because you are afraid of people reading them. Write because you love to. Write because you need to.