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"The Solitary Lifestyle of the Poet VS Writing For The Multitudes" - An Essay


'I wrote a poem today, it had outstanding meaning, I do hope they'll understand it, and don't read me demeaning...'

The reality is, a vast majority of creative folk gifted with talent are actually reclusive by nature, Yes, I know, a contradiction in terms! Yet, the fact remains true today - as it was in the time of the greatest writer's and artist's - who granted us literary nourishment throughout history...

Now, unless you're a Stephen King, James Patterson, JK Rowling type, naturally chimed to write en-masse for a faithful fellowship of readers; most of what you write and publish will be of a personal flavor and part of you might even feel strange about sharing it. Yet, also, you intrinsically know you can't keep it all inside either. So frankly, you're a nervous writer.

Poetry is a more personal delicacy; a visual-sojourn if you like to the inner-goings-on of your being and the more sensitive the subject matter, the rawer it can feel. The primary reason I write poetry, as many who blot their page, is for the immediacy of therapy. As the ink drips, emotions release energy outward to the intended medium, for positive or negative, allowing me to instantly touch the makeup of my own psychology. In the flowing duration, I write these words, I'm enamored in this sweet release, right the way up until the seeds of what I've cultivated - produce the flower I hoped they might.

It's not conducive of creative writer's to want to conceal their-selves or their works in any way. If it's the case, it more likely stems from a fear of embracing the true meaning of their thoughts and words, and then to be accepted for 'that personality' and 'those' accompanying- burning-inner-feelings.' that are personal by nature. So instead, many start out falling into the trap of trying to write exclusively to please a given readership. Sure, if you are a writer hired for a specific target audience, then you have to! But, the actual nature of creativity is not that restrictive and that is the 'single joy of writing.' Personal, meaningful and resonant - to you alone. That it becomes something meaningful to another - is irrelevant.

But maybe, it's your natural inclination to write exclusively for a specific audience. For instance, you could be a 'comic writer' 'script-writer' whatever and that's exactly what you do. In my opinion, it's always good to fertilize the buds of focus - so long as they don't become a sturdy trellis in the way of foundational creativity. I simply write for the joy it brings me and to extract meaning from any series of thoughts, is the true fruit of such tedious labor, and yet, remains the gift in and of itself.

Do you ever read the words of a poet, only to hear a soft-euphony drop like a petal on your soul and the meaning doesn't simply touch you - it sticks? I mean, it's likely due to the fact, the poet, in their pain felt and expressed something, some unanswered, universal truth of existence! It reached deep into your heart and struck a vital chord. In all truth, to be reclusive may be romanticized, but it's not a happy state of being; it's an escape from the torment of the world. It's flat and often very sore, where, the only way of making sense amid the fog is to write it out and when a world refuses to get you, the page where you write, will! So, you're safe in the knowledge as soon as you put it down - whether to share or not! Again, is irrelevant.

To witness this point on paper is to sense your own understanding has been noted! And the true etchings of your being has been made! Counting your inner-self as expressed, to great depth, is more than anyone can freely give you. This is the magic and wisdom of poetry. It transcends far beyond the ordinary - into the extraordinary void of your being.

I can't speak for the myriad reasons many artists and writers do like they do, only why I do and faithfully portray the battles I've survived over the years - with nothing more than a pen, pad, a willing heart, and willing hand. Some of my pages, entire notebooks even have ended up in the fire, amusingly enough, also allowing for release! To be embraced as a final 'letting go' of part of me and my way of soldiering through the storms I've endured. It's why I strongly urge a fellow writer, if you're planning to start out to prove something to others, you're missing the point - the real value is writing for you alone, without really knowing the destination it leads you creatively.

Among the most reclusive writers who left an indelible print in literature and among the more famous of them: 'Poe, Lee, Dickinson, Salinger' are but a small example, while, many more are reported to have faded to some obscure setting - making you wonder why somebody as 'prominent' and 'legendary' with words as they were, would hide away and shun the spotlight! Well, these works clearly were set down before modern labels such as 'depression' 'social anxiety' 'etc' were ever considered a widespread topic of discussion. I can only imagine the turmoil existing in the minds of some of those writers and let's not forget - many of them died young.

The noticeable trend here is 'quiet people' can often shock you in the extreme, and in the universe of words; historical events serve us with a bit of a twist! For example, the likes of 'Percy Shelley' as the documented 'penned' author of 'Frankenstein' - when it was actually Mary - exemplify scenes of such nature dripping through the fabric of literature. Surely, even, to take a closer look at 'Joyce, Yeat's, the Bronte sisters, Emily Dickinson' and others, there was always something more taking place in the background - right across the diaspora of literary society - making not only these works of literature - but their origins mysterious.

Even today you'll notice, though not as much, submissions of writing listed as 'anonymous' but it's the exception rather than the rule. Most 'Fantasy' writer's use a pseudonym for their own varied reasons. Noticeable also in this practice, are those who cross writing genres.

I guess I'm merely hoping here, to draw the distinction between writing that is 'valuably personal' versus something flatly 'material.' Personal prose, as a budding form of life and drawn from experience will always have 'soul' in the writing of it. Whereas - something contextually flat might well sell fast but more often than not will also read flat! So, hard work endured in this grain of creativity can easily be forgotten. When the spirit alive in you has moved you to write, so it's there now, this tangible thing, right in front of you, you get to celebrate the potency of a profound individual accomplishment.

By all means, if you set out with fiction in mind, you only ever need be as good at what you do; study your market, know the target audience and develop your craft. On the other hand, when you begin writing for the purpose of knowing yourself better, something about you, some lofty aspect is slowly cultivated into your style and approach and it is unmistakable as you develop as a writer, distinguishing you drastically - rather than one who just writes for a multitude.


John Hansen from Gondwana Land on February 22, 2019:

This is a wonderful essay on what it is like to be a writer, a poet in particular. I am quite a solitary person and speak much more through my writing than I do in person. It is a way of expressing yourself without the fear of immediately making a fool of yourself or being in an uncomfortable situation for someone with a shy disposition.

I also write for clients, but it is when I write for my own satisfaction that I am truly happy.

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