How many times I’ve typed or recited the following phrase I couldn’t honestly tell you. What I can tell you is this phrase is embedded in my D.N.A – “a writer writes what he knows” – how difficult of a concept is this to comprehend? If I were a fisherwoman who took sail on the ocean and tackled a great white shark, upon docking I would immediately begin documenting the occurrence as it happened, or used my experiences to write “Jaws.” Were I a lawyer or detective, the easiest subject for me to reach with a modicum of understanding would be an amalgamation of cases which intrigued or plagued me. If I were a teacher, perhaps that student who touched or broke my heart would propel me to pen “Freedom Writers.” A botanist may produce “Little Shop of Horrors”. Steven King is King of the macabre and yet shortly after his horrific near fatal car
accident left him helpless, his wife redesign his studio to make it more accessible following his injuries. Steven King walked in during renovations and seeing his furniture draped by white sheets and books packed away he was given a glimpse of what life would look like after he died. He penned a novel entitled “Liseys Story.”
“A writer writes what he/she knows.” I’d go a few steps more in that a good writer, one that breaks through the alphabetic monotony of what passes for writing today – writes what he/she lives.
I believe I am a good writer. Not because I am a phenomenal story teller, but because I do not write for you. I do not cater to you. I do not care
what you may think of the words placed on this page. I write for me. I write for the same reason I shower four times a day. To cleanse. I write for the same reason you take your trash out weekly. I am a living receptacle protected by a hefty lining of baggage that you keep filling up with trash and once capacity is reached – it must be emptied or risk spilling over onto the floors of my life. I take your muddy footprints, and garbage, meticulously cleaning each fragmented thought, cramming it into the tiny spaces of my laptop until crushed into a compact blog.
If a writer does indeed “write what he/she knows” the question then becomes “what do you know?” I know my life. I know my pain, my sorrow, my joy. I know me. I write about her. And she is a complicated subject fueled by sensory overload and her own wonderment over the human race and why we do the things we do. Why we say the things we say. I am an observer of human nature, including my own.
My writing is an expedition; my excursion takes me to the heights of human interaction and voyages to the lower nature of man, exploring to the basest elements of the beast within. I gingerly extract emotional fossils from the crust of life, dust the protective particles off, holding to the light, carefully turning and touching, studying & learning by marveling in discovery as to where it derives then following its journey mesmerized by how landed it where it did.
In a world numbed by apathy I am woman who collects stray emotions. You walk past a park full of children playing and
remark “how beautiful” and yet I feel which laughing child is being beaten, picked on, hungry or in need.
No I don’t “see dead people” I don’t “read palms” and “I can’t tell your future.” But if you and I stood side by side ;the same breeze, gently grazing your skin with a pleasant chill, just left the whispering imprint of suffering or cries on my spirit before drifting into the atmosphere.
I spend every day juggling your pain intersected with my own. My writing does not only seek to understand; it is also vulnerable. It exposes my life in a way some find uncomfortable, unbearable, unforgiving or unbelievable. But I can’t let your discomfort with my truth make me hesitant on my path. My words serve as a sincere form of creative self-therapy.
It sometimes just happens to touch you.
This is who I am and have been all my life. “She’s so sensitive” “She’s too emotional.” I’ve grown to know this creature of creativity. Where I once secretly huddled within the pages of a journal I now brazenly spit fire on open microphones. I’ve accepted this fearless, thought provoking, awkwardly beautiful soul as my friend and her pen as my confidant.
We write or die together.
Writing is my calling and whether or not you ever read or listen; I will continue collecting moments which belong to you, me, the world at large, and put them on poetic display.
I write as I breathe for the Creator lives within me.
Iya Isoke © 5-24-11