13 October 2012

What's in it for me?

What's in it for me? I've thought about that question a few times. I've gotten that question a few more times. In relation to writing, thoughts have clarified a bit in the last year or so.

When I first started seriously writing, I looked at a lot of places on the net. I joined a few sites for writers, I bookmarked a lot. Research, you might say, is a hobby of mine. And the net, as I've said before, is one big library that I can get lost in for days.

I always wanted to write a book, then the inner critic would strike. Especially the image of a person who unknowingly put the kibosh to my poetry attempts. "Poetry should come from your soul, with the words already formed. Revising means you're not a writer." Silly me. Now that I've managed to wrestle that image down to the black hole, I'm actually enjoying myself, enjoying the hunt for the right words to describe what I think, what I feel and what I hope to accomplish. They may not always find their way into print. That's okay though. I know they're there for me and me alone. Well, my Creator has a bit to do with it.

And that's what's in it for me. Even on the days when I don't like what I've written. I come from the old tradition, where words have power. The written word is more powerful. I remember being shushed when I'd say something an Elder thought I needed to be more careful with saying. I remember the books being passed around the village. My mom would save reading material, anything, even the "Enquirer" for people who were looking for something to read. I paid attention in English class, even though I thought some of the books were "booorrriinnng." Ones like Chaucer, Shakespeare, Hemingway.

And not for the reason some may think. It's because they were describing a world I knew nothing about and couldn't relate to until I left the rez for a time. My world was, and is, different from those descriptions. Parties and balls, Cinderella and Prince Charming? Always someone unreachable. I had Nanaboozhoo, the little people, the lady in the lake. I had Spirit Island, powwows and ceremonies. I had treaties, constitutions and school plays. I had the BIA, IHS and MCT/RBC. I couldn't see the difference then, being the literal minded person I am. Those books were just something to get a passing grade in.

Now, I know that viewpoint is important and mine has broadened. Writing has helped me define the differences. Writing has sharpened my wits, dulled the bite of history. Writing has helped me find the similarities. That's what's in it for me.


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