The Bigger Picture

I started writing by accident as a child and then began writing intentionally and earnestly in my early twenties. I wasn't writing to "become a writer," rather, I was writing as a way to understand myself and the world in which I was living. I was writing because I believed I had something important to say about my process and its discoveries.

I was writing as physical and emotional art, digging into the context of my experiences, the gains and losses of living, chronicling those moments because it seemed important to do so.

I was also writing as a way of fighting to become -- as a way of growing into the self I sought and imagined. Of course, moving past the now into the new requires reconciliation of what is and strong visions of what can be. Writing through those moments of growth helped me find reconciliation with deep and painful wounds and encouraged me to dream deeper and further than before. Those moments now exist as frozen evidential keystrokes on white pages.

My writing often surprised me - the voice speaking, the story unfolding, the poem talking itself into a picture. It taught me who I was in the midst of chaotic and confusing definitions. My writing gave me a deeper understanding of the truer-to-self inner definition of me independent of family, friends, and society. I needed to hear me above the noise of them for awhile. I needed to review and examine all the definitions side-by-side and draw my own conclusions.

The art of writing is simultaneously a way to draw nearer life and self for detailed scrutiny and a way to step back from life and self to take in the bigger picture. I recently started sifting through old and new poems and essays in order to put together a collection for the forthcoming book, Hours of Our Becoming, to be released later this year.

The process was much like that of looking through old photographs - each poem held a memory of the place and writing, ahh there I was at 24 and then at 32, all the frozen images jumping to life from their home on the page where they have quietly lived these past years. It was an unusual journey down memory lane because the pictures were of all the "other" Me's I had been during those moments, fragmented snap-shots of the "growing-up and into" of a soul. The experience was similar to running into an unexpected twin while walking down a foggy, dusk-covered road. The familiarity is there, but also the unknown strangeness.

It's that unknown strangeness that demands investigation, where the bigger picture begins to take shape, twisting and turning itself into the next chapter, poem, story that tells us who we are becoming . . .