To explain why I’m called to this gathering of writers ...
I’m a writer.
Yet it feels somewhat uncomfortable to write those words; they form a statement with much loaded history and meaning.
For me, the statement “I’m a writer” is entwined with others’ (especially familial) expectations of what it means to be a writer. It recalls journalism training that often made me sick to the stomach, while teaching me much about being succinct, accurate, clear and quick.
It speaks to the many words I’ve scrawled into countless journals, forming questions and statements that have become imbued with wider searching and greater wisdom as my experience has accrued.
It encompasses poetry, a medium that burst out of me prolifically when I was locked down in my deepest despair, and then disappeared as suddenly as it arrived.
It has involved writing “cookie cutter” press releases and speeches about policies that I have deeply disagreed with, policies affecting ecological and indigenous rights, formed by a colonial government (post-colonial doesn’t seem an accurate enough description).
It is a statement about my default form of expression. Whether it’s the default I want (wouldn’t it be more exciting to express myself through dance, music, song?), it’s the one that I most certainly have.
And now, I need to develop a deeper, more intimate relationship with my medium of expression, so I no longer feel uncomfortable or limited by the phrase “I’m a writer”. I need to explore how to reclaim my writing practice, thereby transforming myself into someone who can trust, again, in her inherent value as one who feels called to serve the transformation of humanity.