Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why Your Writing Matters

Feeling discouraged about writing?  Let me recommend this essay by poet Karen Craigo, which should rouse your spirit and remind you that what we do as writers is important. 

…Two nights ago, I was driving up National Avenue in Springfield, Missouri, and off to my right I saw an unusual thing. There was a man trudging up the block and he carried a homemade walking stick. He had fashioned it from a long, stout branch that was made smooth, perhaps through sanding or long use, and to its base, affixed with duct tape, he had affixed a baby’s pink sneaker for traction…. When presented with a great gift like that man with the homemade walking stick, a poet has almost no choice but to tell you about him—to try to make him as real on the page as he was on that street. We would try to find some sort of purchase in his story, some overlap between his apparent experience and our own—and everyone’s. You should not expect a factual accounting from a poet. (I admit it—I’m not sure the baby shoe was pink. It was late and I was driving.) You can, however, expect an attempt at truth, something beyond fact. My spirit recognized that man, although I didn’t have a chance to meet him, and I need to tell you about him on the page. Is there any impulse more human than that?


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.