When I write articles, reviews or essays it’s a different story. I get published but then it’s about other people’s lives or creative work, not my own. Why is this?
I love reading my old works – in fact I am deeply moved and often dazzled by the deep emotions they evoke. My relationship with my father, my childhood, my first loves, fascinate me. Someone said, “Write what you know” and I have. But no one said, “Share it with others” so I secrete it away in dusty old files. But I keep the hand-scrawled poems, keep the tear-filled memories, love to read them – I am awed by their power – but do not believe anyone else will feel the same.
Do all writers feel this deep scared shame about their honest work? If it is great writing, will anyone even recognize it?
Colleges teach about the greatness of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poetry, students study his words, but in his own time no one even listened. He died unrecognized. And we all know that Vincent Van Gogh painted master works that now sell for millions, but in his lifetime never sold a painting.
Is it because I can believe I am like them – an undiscovered genius – as long as I keep my work hidden. The clever stuff is out there. I get my kicks from being printed, being online. Dare I ever open those dead files? Or is it better not to know? Is it better to be discovered or is it better to feel that, after I’m gone, I might join with them, and Emily Dickinson, and so many others.
From a prompt on July 10, 2013 in The Tuesday Writers Group at Durant Library in Hollywood.