Literacy Autobiography – Poetry

If you would rather read instead of watch:

In relation to creative writing, I have always struggled. Even as a kid, every year that it came time to write a “Young Author” book I stressed out over even beginning to think of an idea to base a fictional story on. When it came to poetry lessons, I drudged through the process as I thought about how dumb it was to say something in so many different words that could instead just be clear and concise.

However, as my educational career continued, I became more and more obsessed with books. Although many of them were non-fiction, some weren’t and either way I was enthralled by how a writer could arrange their words to elicit some desired emotion in the reader. I began to learn that I could cry over a book, but never over a movie. Words simply moved me.

Around high school, I began to appreciate poetry. Yet in my Literature and Language classes I still had trouble analyzing it and tearing it apart piece by piece to try and understand the meaning, motivation, rhetorical skills used, and so on. However, I began to envy the writers even more. That they could express emotion and appeal to another’s soul rather than just appeal to their logic with a solidly backed up argument. That writing could be an art and a form of expression in a lyrical sense rather than just a useful one.

It wasn’t until I took a class studying Buddhism and related topics in the mountains of Colorado that I began to understand. In this beautiful place, I saw poetry all around me. The way nature moved and related to the humans visiting. The way the sun greeted every morning and the moon took its’ place at night. The way that complete strangers exchanged acts of kindness and love.

In the summer, I accepted a job offer doing marketing and public relations for the very retreat center that I had stayed at. This time, I had the ability to take classes and workshops for free, along with the privilege of living on this beautiful piece of land for three months. It was in this time that my outlook on creative writing changed.

I attended a writing workshop set in the mind of meditation and mindfulness. The weekend long class was full of people from all different walks of life; those finishing up writing books, people that had never written for enjoyment in their lives, and people like me, floating somewhere in the middle. It was in the first session of this class that I was told to just go outside, see what I was seeing, and write about it. And I was also told that I couldn’t be wrong. The fact that I didn’t need evidence to back up my argument threw me for a loop, but I decided that trying wouldn’t hurt and set out on my adventure.

It was with this piece of writing that I understood the enjoyment of using poetry as a form of expression. Using the beautiful backdrop that I was surrounded with and the new relationships I was forming as inspiration, I began to write as much as I could that summer. Now, whenever I feel strongly about something or don’t have the proper words to explain how I feel to someone, it has become habit to simply write a poem. For me, it is a form of a journal, but this time finally one that I don’t have to force myself to keep. It’s been a solid year now, and I have been writing regularly and enjoying it thoroughly since.

Here are a few of my beginning and favorite pieces.

3 Responses to Literacy Autobiography – Poetry

  • Jess Smith says:

    I love your style of writing. It is very clear and personable which keeps it interesting and really shows your true passion for it. You have done some awesome classes too, like Buddhism and the meditation. It’s cool that you have such a variety of interests.

  • Lixinting2012 says:

    Cassie,
    I can relate to how you feel about books and the way that writers can capture emotion through words. I always ask myself how they do it? What is going through their minds when they can write the words that they do and have them come out so beautifully on a page? I want to be able to do just that and one day have someone wonder how I could put all those words on paper and project such emotion. Your story is inspiring. You are so talented! I’m glad you went from not liking books and writing to where you are now. Great Job!
    Xinting

  • richardcolby says:

    I like how you shared these images of nature within your literacy autobiography. What made for an interesting multimodal expression was the poetry set upon the still images of nature, and I appreciated how you matched or maybe shaped the text to the images. As a writer, I wonder if you might consider more how words crafted (creative writing) are not without evidence, as you say. The distinction, maybe more precisely, is more found versus invented evidence. Seeking outside corroboration of a claim versus crafting one from within. And maybe even this distinction isn’t perfectly precise as you still find inspiration–evidence–from outside yourself. Much as painters express a world differently than a photograph, but both draw inspiration from that world. What are your thoughts? I also wondered about something else in your post. What is your process? Specifically, you say you write poetry as a type of journal, but we usually think of journals as writing for our future selves–as a form of remembrance, as a means to capture a moment so that we may later reflect or consider it anew. In sharing the poetry with a wider audience, did you revise, rethink, edit those poems? As I point out, you did match them with your images, so that is too a type of revision. But are there other processes or revisions in your journal or other writing? There’s a great website called How a Poem Happens that interviews poets about the process (how long, how many drafts) that they take to complete their work that you might find interesting as you think through this. I would love for you to either respond in a comment or revise your post thinking anew about evidence in writing, creative or otherwise, and issues of process (and by extension, audience). Fascinating stuff regardless, so thanks for sharing.

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