The below may be written by L.A. artist Teresa Tolliver. The quote had been typed on recycled paper from a letter of submission, which was then tucked away between a stack of papers that finally had to be tossed out. Though the author may remain unknown, here is an unforgettable mantra for individual voice and community. Ten years later after originally finding the quote, the words ring just as true and clear-headed as they did back in another life. I’m glad for the re-discovery.
Just write. Believe in your work, your story enough to honor it with a page. A journal. You don’t have to send it out for publication, workshop or reading. But you must write. Poetry is a divinity, a sacred space to translate, to illuminate your world, your tears and celebrations. Remember that the page is a safe space where all of your haunts can find home and discovery. Use it. Never stop Now if you want to move beyond your own sphere, find communities of all types of artists that can inspire you. Fellow artists need each other, need the peculiar and fantastic way we communicate, so go to readings, workshops, retreats and gatherings. Have coffee, cocktails, whatever. Just search out your community. Find kindred and touching souls; there is no greater love. Also, read everything! Listen to all types of music. Do not protect yourself from the worries of the word. Watch TV, read the paper, listen to the rumblings on the street. There is so much to learn, to translate into poetry, into art. Oh! And finally, never let someone else tell you how you should write, what you can and cannot say. Never, ever give someone else the power over your pen, your sanctified, unique and beautiful pen.
Happy holidays from the Ruelle!
May the new year bring you the power of the pen and the sanctity of community.