Perhaps I speak too deeply for people. Then again, perhaps I don’t speak clearly enough. Whichever one it is, we seem to have lost some pages from the “how to read” handbook. It seems especially bad when it’s someone who knows you, no matter how slight, that reads your work.
The poet’s job is to place themselves into an emotion, a space, an event and to discover it. Not just the facts but to capture the heartbeat of it, the life, the passion and pass it along for others to digest. Think of us like verbal pelicans regurgitating the world into youropen minds.
Put simply, as a poet I can feel what it would be like to be pregnant. If I’m good I can capture the physical feelings and the emotions. However, unless something very odd happens I can never be pregnant. As a male I would want any trip to the maternity ward kept a big secret. I can imagine and engage in the topic, but don’t have to physically have a bun in the oven. The key words being I can imagine it.
But the reader…… Our dear sweet readers. We are there to stir them, to stimulate them, to give them a space to experience thoughts and emotions. We present them with new ideas or perhaps new ways to think. But the question is do we provide a safety barrier? How often have we ourselves felt a piece speaks to us? When the reader is acquainted with us there is a danger that every piece was written directly to them. And therein lies the danger.
I once joked that now we have hash tags we should use those at the end of a piece to stop any claims of ownership emotionally. #thisisn’taboutyougloriasostoplookingforgreyhairs, #iwrotethisoneforyoumichael, or perhaps my favorite #imfeelingpissedoffbutnotatyourobertsodon’tgetpissybackandseeyoudownthelionatsevenok. We the poet mayspeak to your soul but it’s not necessarily a commentary on you personally. Sometimes it takes more time explaining why someone shouldn’t get annoyed by something you wrote than it does to write the damned thing.
So too protect myself I’ve taken to giving away pieces. If I write a piece with someone in mind I will give them the piece to read and say this is yours. Anything else is for general consumption and no one specifically. After all this isn’t therapy it’s me practicing my art. Having been slandered, beaten up, disowned, and maligned in the past because people have been struck by something that I wrote I come back to my original question. Am I speaking too deeply or not clearly enough? The point is you are responsible for what and how you receive anything that you read. A writer merely writes it’s the reader who chooses how to interpret it and has to be responsible for their reaction if they get it wrong. #answersonthebackofyourhand