Years ago while pursuing my undergraduate degree as a hungry young writer, I approached the Teaching Assistant in my English Class about a conference to discuss my writing outside of class assignments. After perusing the poems that I submitted to her, she looked at me and simply stated, “What you are writing here, this is not poetry.” She continued to emphasize that I had no talent in writing. Bottom line, according to her I needed to try something else.
As an aspiring writer still in my late teens, I was crushed by one who was supposed to be a role model. When sharing the experience with another mentor, he suggested that I take my writing to the visiting author who was lecturing on the campus, Poet Joyce Carol Thomas.
After spending a bit more time with my manuscripts, Ms. Thomas replied, “Keep writing. Write every day.” She did not pet or soothe or stroke my bruised ego. She simply made it clear to me that I was onto something budding and developing, something worthwhile, that I simply needed to nurture it.
I am grateful to say that I have been writing ever since. I endeavor as Ms. Thomas advised to write at least something every day.
What if I had listened to the first opinion and let it be my guide, my demise? What if I had internalized someone else’s aesthetics or lack of vision or whatever?
I would never have dared to discover more of my talent, my skill, my art, myself…
I would never have published poems and stories. I would not have traveled to the many places I’ve been or met many of the people that I’ve met or shared the stories and experiences that I’ve lived because of my writing which took me there.
I wouldn’t even be writing to you now.
I am celebrating 20+ years as a professional writer and poet, and I am so very grateful. I am celebrating the self-development and self-discovery through this amazing gift. I am celebrating all that I have accomplished and encountered on this amazing journey of writing. It’s National Poetry Month. I am a poet and proud of it, thankful for it.
Poet Joyce Carol Thomas, I am grateful for your words of motivation and inspiration. I am delighted and humbled to say that I am still writing and loving every minute of it…
So I ask you, “Is there anything that you might need a second opinion on? Is there any place or anything in your life where you may be giving up too soon and need to hang on a little longer? Is there someone else that you need to ask even if that someone is deep inside of you?”
Here’s to the magic and the beauty of a second opinion. I am glad that I got mine! I pray you get yours too! Care to share? Leave your reflections below. I look forward to hearing from you!