I am looking for something that I may never find.  I realise that.  It haunts me, because when I had one before, I did not quite take care of it until it was already about to leave.   Is that not always the case? 

I have had 3 people in my life who would be willing to slog through the enormous amount of drivel and blah writing to find something of worth.  Back when I could write about 20 poems a month… they were usually hard to understand and purposefully opaque.  I loved sharing who I really was and dressing me up in hidden cloistered comments.  Sometimes the words were beautiful and life transforming.  Others they were stark and condemning. 

As I wrestled with what I could do by manipulating words and occasionally writing something substantial, I was blessed early on to have a teacher who encouraged me even though my writing was often unbelievably frustrating and non-reader-friendly.  People would ask me to explain my writing (those that were interested).  My pat response was to say that poetry is in the eye of the reader.  It doesn’t matter what I intended to write, what someone reads into it is what is really there.

I still sort of believe that even after all these years.

My best reader at the time was my best friend.  She used to get soooo very frustrated that I would write a ton, and she would labour over something for weeks.  Granted her medium was short fiction, mine poetry.  Mine was easier to write, per se, because one could explode with observation and get 20-25 lines easily.  Fashioning characters and dialogue takes  much more time.

Yet, my teacher was also encouraging me.  It was a rich time, because I could easily write to my heart’s content, and I had an ear to help me push further into the envelope of creativity without fear, without regret.

As highschool moved into college, my best friend was there.  My favourite writing teacher was there.  I also made a friend who would sit and read with me while my best friend had traveled to another university.  I have to admit, I was severely spoiled.  So, I never gave up enough to keep people willing to read my stuff.  I never opened the veil behind my writing enough.  Also, being headstrong, I never listened enough either…

Actually, one time my friend from college challenged me to write things out.  She said that after reading one of my poems, that I could write a poem for each line and then someone could understand it better.  So, on a fateful night, the 21st of May 1993, I took a 14 line poem and wrote 14 distinct poems from each line… then put it all together.  My best reader gave me a goal and I hit it.

That was a long time ago.  I have since lost contact with my favourite prof.  My best readers have all moved forward and aren’t able to be there (or won’t).  It feels like agony to write without someone to help flesh things out.  I miss the closeness as much as the critique.  I miss the slap in the face as much as the slap on the back.  So, I’m searching again.

I’m convinced the reason writers tend to need or want mentoring is that if they only have their own voices to fashion their art, the art suffers.  If you think of great musicians, artists, actors, etc.  The times when they were the most potent and influential were the times when they had to work off of someone.  Once people gain a level of success, they receive a portion of autonomy and thus the friction between people doesn’t smooth off the gemstones and polish them well.

I don’t consider myself great, but I consider myself not trusting my own opinion.  So… I’m searching for a dear, gentle but sturdy and trusting soul.  Know anyone that might be one?   I would love to borrow one if you’re not willing to let me keep them to myself.  😉

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