What Inspires Me to Write
Writing has always been my release, just like reading has always been my escape. As an abused and neglected child, I really had a lot of anger, rage and downright fury to rid myself of. I have been journaling as long as I can remember, but we called it 'dear diary' then. These journals were all abandoned with our toys, beds, dressers and other household necessitates every time we moved. This was from 6 months to a year, either across town or across country.
This did not seem to matter to my mother, who continued to go back to my violent, abusive father, every time he asked. (Begged and pleaded was more like it) She spent our childhood 'gallivanting around the country side' as she would put it. By the time I was 13, I was already a loner, an outcast, the new kid on the block, and with an attitude 10 feet tall. The red headed Irish blood in me did not help much either.
My mother at a very early age had beaten me into submission, to accept that I needed an education. She knocked me upside the head with her hand or whatever else was in her hand, back-handed me onto the stairs, whatever she could do to get the point across that not only was I going to learn to read, write and do arithmetic, I better learn to Enjoy learning it. So I learned. Against all odds, not that I had anything better to do anyway, I read everything I could get my hands on and wrote on every piece of paper I could find that would allow more pencil to scratch at it.
We had just moved before the end of the summer into a worn down and trashy looking trailer park in a sneeze town, located in the southwestern part of Missouri called Republic. It had a gas service station, a small grocery store and a bar. It was 1977 and I was in 7th grade, in a new school, new to Jr. High School, and Mom and Dad were on the outs again. Mom was supporting all four of us on minimum wage at Sambo's Family Restaurant. I think it was $1.75/hour back then, but my memory could be faulty on that fact.
I wrote a couple of dreamy love poems, for at that time in my life I desperately prayed for my white knight in shining armor to come and rescue me. But the first real poetry I ever read was William Shakespeare. We had to do an oral and written report in my English Literature class for his tragic story Macbeth. I fell in love. I don't mean I just had a crush, I fell head over hills in passionate, devoted love. I could not get enough of Mr. Shakespeare and his beautiful, floriferous words.
The thee's and thou's, thines and ye's made his poetry seem like a higher or divine speech to me. It still does today. When I write spiritual poetry, I slide easily into the old archaic language. Although mine has a slight Irish lilt to it, rather than the dry British pausing air. But I read his story, then re-read it several times, doubling up on my required pages of the written report for my teacher.
When it came time to break up into groups, so that each student got to read a part from Macbeth as a character, I was elected to pose as narrator and as Macbeth. For the first time in my life I was accepted by my peers. I could do something none of them could do, and I did it well. Not only could I read aloud, and did not stumble over all of those 50 cent words everyone else was still sounding out; but I did it with passionate emotion and authority. It was also the very first A+ I ever received on my report card for any class.
Needless to say, this was also the very first time I had felt self-pride or self-worth though I was quite embarrassed of the praise I was receiving. I received and kept a confidence in my voice I had not even attempted before. I began to rhyme everything, and to count out the syllables in meter, though I had no idea that was what it was called back then. I wrote everything in 4 rhyming line stanzas. I read everything the library had to offer in Shakespeare’s work, though at that age, there was still much I did not understand.
In the next semester, my teacher pulled out "The Tale-Tell Heart" by Edgar Allen Poe. Poe was so descriptive with his visuals of the era he lived in; and developed his characters to the point that I could feel their hearts racing, and the blood pumping through their veins. I was hypnotized by his stories and poetry. I believe my favorite poem by him today is "Anna Belle Lee". Such a sad and devout poem about his undying love and passion for his woman.
Then we moved back to Salt Lake City, Utah mid school year, and my English Literature class was replaced with a Mormon Seminary class. I started skipping classes and hanging out with the 'wrong crowd' as school once again was just another form of abuse to endure.
I continued to write and read though on my own. Just in the last ten years I have discovered that I have indeed written in many poetry forms, I just did not know it. To this day I do not even refer to what I write as poetry. I call it epic prose in rhyming verse. The only form poetry I purposely write to is the acrostic. And I do that often with rhyming couplets in a structured stanza of the first letter of each word, of each line being my title.
I took a test once just to see if I had the knowledge to even consider myself as a writer of literature, and I was informed that I had the basis and knowledge of one who had studied at least 2 if not 4 years of formal and classic poetry. Which I have not. My inner journeys as I have traveled my spiritual path for the last sixteen years, has inspired many of my stories, poetry and prose. Real life is too fantastic to pass up as I can tell the story with a passion. "Write what you know" is one piece of advice that stuck with me and I have carried it with me through all of my writings.
In conclusion, my beginning writings and my education where never formal lecture and classroom assignments, but self taught, as I have lived every minute of every poem/prose I have ever written. When you live it, you better know it. Otherwise you just slide through life not ever experiencing any of the joy, elation and pure divine light that is a gift, if you never feel it's polar of pain, despair and darkness.
I write to live. I live to write, and I continue to Write On!