Writing

Honestly

Honesty is such a lonely word.

Everyone is so untrue.

Honesty is hardly ever heard.

And mostly what I need from you.

~Billy Joel

Honestly, I've hardly written a thing all month.

A few months ago I joined a writers group online, and one of my initial goals was to choose a project. I thought of a few different things: a book about how Molly influenced my theology and ministry; a collection of worship dramas; a Lectionary-based book of daily reflections, either a year's worth or a season's worth. 

And then someone suggested poetry. Which was flattering because that someone is a poet, among other things.

And then life became chaotic. Which shows few signs of diminishing. I have exactly two poems to show for April (one posted here), ironic given it was Poetry month and others were writing a Poem a Day.

And, honestly, I have no idea whether the poems I write are any good. Until recently I wrote a poem when I felt intense emotion about an experience and wanted to put it into words without explaining the life out of it. Most of my poems have been written quickly and never revised, creatures of the moment.

It was a new experience to revise and re-shape. I enjoyed it, but I don't know if it was *good.*

I will say, I find poetry very, very honest. So much of what I would like to write about I really don't want to share with others, or not many others, because these things have the power, I think, to hurt people.

Sometimes honesty about the things that have hurt us can hurt other people. I'm not sure I'm ruthless enough to tell the truth about some things. I care too much about the risk of collateral damage. Or maybe I care too much about having people regard me well. Or maybe I care too much about my private resentments.  Or maybe I am taking a side trip through honesty to avoid making up my mind. 

7 thoughts on “Honestly”

  1. Same here my friend. My blog has become… I don’t know… mush. I can’t seem to write from my heart any longer as, like you said, it would be too painful to read, and would cause collateral damage. I am always here if you want to put something out there without the ramifications. Hugs to you this day.

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  2. Oh, I’m so glad to hear you’re considering poetry; I think it may suit you. I was trained as a poet, and, while your mileage may vary, I’ve discovered something interesting often happens in the process of revision and revision and (fairly obsessive) revision, which is that the emotion that caused the poem moves to another plane less likely to cause collateral damage. I don’t mean refining the emotion out, or denying it, or calling it something it isn’t. I mean that the process of writing is a meditation that transforms. There will still always be those poems that you don’t want to show anyone or to let certain someones see, but I don’t think you have to be worried going into it. Wait and see what happens.

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  3. Ruby said what I was going to say.
    You are a poet.
    I can’t wait to read more of the poems that you will create.
    and, yes. I resonate with the collateral damage piece. sigh.

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  4. Dinnae fesh yersel! (“Don’t worry yourself,” but I like it better in Scots) After all, it was a poet who declared “April is the cruelest month.” While cognitive dissonance in this muddy, stress-filled month may spark some poetic wrestling, the schedules we keep do not lend themselves to elegant bardic offerings or the reworking thereof, as you can tell from my tortured grammar!
    I think April may not be an ideal time for poetry, but it is a good time to pick up the debris and sweep the cobwebs out of our creativity. It’s dirty, awkward work, but it makes room for more artful creation later!

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  5. I just realized, I wrote poems in Arizona, so I’m being too hard on myself. I have half a dozen poems written in April, some dashed off and some contemplated and revised. I feel better now!

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  6. I do a lot of self-censoring too. Some thoughts I don’t want to put on display — not for fear of offending, though.
    You write lovely poetry. I liked ‘Broken Glass.’
    Peace to you.

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