Tuesday, January 10, 2012
For as long as I can remember, I've always had a pen in my hand. Since childhood, there has been a personal fascination of a utensil hitting the paper. It's safe to say that I treat the materials like I'm in a relationship. When I was a kid and I would visit the stores with my mom, the first section that I would always visit would be the aisle of the notebooks, loose leaf paper, etc. I had a collection of alphabet tablets that were broader than wide ruled sheets and memo pads that slide into my pocket. There was always something to write down. I think that I was born with a hippie identity. Instilled in me was a love of color, of art, of having some desire of freedom and I wanted to explore all of that through words. However, I was serious about writing professionally when I got to middle school when I was basically in the closet honing my writing talent. To be frank, I was not that good at first, but the good part about it is that I was writing constantly and consistently. I kept journals from the time I was a preteenager until the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav in 2008, which is when I began to translate my thoughts into the blogosphere. I didn't really want anyone to know that I was a writer unless it was on my own terms, but there was a moment where I almost stopped writing forever. My journal was actually taken from me in the 8th grade and I didn't know that it was gone until someone at the back of the class was reading it out loud to EVERYONE. It was very humiliating because they were my private thoughts (and back then I was struggling very hard with my sexual orientation. I didn't want that struggle to leak out at that time, but unfortunately it kind of did, but quickly went away). Because of the journal incident (that made me almost have a panic attack), I started having depression that I have/was never medicated or diagnosed for.
When high school came around, people always wanted to read my stuff and they thought that I was good. One person told me to perform in a school poetry slam and I refused because I had decided that I was a poet for the page, not for the stage. When I was 14, I won a couple of amateur poetry slams, but didn't consider myself a performer until I got to be a part of this amazing arts program starting in my sophomore year. The WordPlay Teen Writing Project is credited as my foundation and my coming into as an artist. I began to study under great local artists, one of them who is Chancelier "xero" Skidmore, who was ranked as the 3rd slam poet in the world in 2011. From there on, I took the title of "poet" and I take it serious. Because of this foundation, I have been able to extend to a theatre background, become a teaching artist, travel to a few spots in the country to perform, etc.
I call myself an artist because I dabble in more than just the word. That hippie identity that I think that I was born with? Let's just say somewhere within the last three years, I became born-again with it. Along the way, I've learned some very important lessons about my craft. Things like:
In order to be writer, you have to be a reader.
It doesn't matter what you write. It's ok if you write bullshit. Create battle scars in your notebook. Just write. (I have a tattoo that says "write." on my upper arm in the gay pride colors as a reminder)
Just be you on stage.
I've taken these lessons into account and I reflect on them. Since the spring of 2010, I have been on a hiatus from the stage (in regards to to the spoken word scene) and right now, my focus is on the writing before I can focus on being on the mic. Once I see what material I have to work with, then I can work on taking it to the next level.