Writing Academy, Memoirs, Novels, Short Stories, Book Proposals

New York City Writing Coach

Gay Walley

on using our metaphoric pens

Writing is endlessly interesting and stimulating, never boring and those are the good parts. But it can be lonely, frustrating, and a fulsome vehicle for self doubt. But it also can be used a gift I see that we can give one to the other. This weekend I went to a friend’s birthday party, a woman I admire. I decided to write her a birthday poem, describing her as I saw her, writing it in the intense vein that is unfortunately or fortunately mine, not knowing before what kind of people I would be reading it. It came the time for my poem and I knew this poem would do the dastardly thing of revealing as much about me as I read it, as it would about her. They knew her, they did not know me. I had put my whole self into it so there was no obfuscating my own exposure. After I read it (nervously once I understood what was about to happen), I saw people struck by the truths of it and the audacity I had had in not being “cute.” (My friend deserved more than cute, I thought.) I saw that the poem affected some deeply, confused others, and who knows what else it engendered? But it was the risk of art. And once I got over my embarrassment, I was proud. I had once again taken the risk of art which is about revealing. And when you reveal, you feel naked and can be mocked. But so what? You also give a gift to those who might be interested in receiving. And isn’t that the point of it all?