After I self-published my first poetry collection, Faith 2 Talk, I went to see the renowned poet Nikki Giovanni. Nikki discussed a book she wrote about Rosa Parks. During her discussion, she remarked: “If you don’t put the truth into your book, whose book are you going to put it in? I wrote that statement on the front page of the manuscript of my next poetry collection, Gather the Wind Around Me. Putting the truth in my own book served as the guide that permitted full honesty to hit the page and quieted my need to filter the words. I can write, like I speak, with a hidden concern about the comfort of others. Yet, when I am writing a book, the finished product should fully reflect who I am, and that takes a courageous commitment to honesty.
I do not own many things; but I own my story. I was the sole participant in every event that made me who I am. I was there. I have been given the license to tell my story from my point of view. Sadly, if I do not tell my story, it may never be told. If my story does not come from my life, whose life will it come from? Will someone else take the time to tell my story after I am gone? I doubt it.
It is difficult to express myself openly, completely and honestly. However, I learned that the freedom I gain from allowing the truth of me to flow freely is worth overcoming the fear of exposure. Many of my deep wounds have been healed, in part, by the weaving of words into poetry.
Therefore, I encourage you to write about the authentic you. For once, leave the filters for your coffee and your tea. Give your experiences, and the events that shaped you, the freedom to flow unfiltered onto the page. The result can be a journal entry, a poem, a song, or a good talk with a good friend. Please, allow the world to discover who you are, from you, in your own words.
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