I always tell people I'm "primarily a poet." It was my first form of creative expression and my go-to genre when a thought experiment keeps rolling around in my head. But poetry is just one mode of my self-expression.
I truly hate boxes. Yet, from pixels to brick and mortar, we have to contend with them. So we might as well have fun, right?
My favorite things go something like this:
- Complete and total freedom to walk through the world as my whole, undiluted self;
- Ackee and Saltfish (hey, Jamericans have a peculiar kind of homesickness that only food from Yard can quell);
- and excellent, mind-twisting sci-fi stories where non-human characters are allowed to use contractions when they speak.
Note to screenwriters: There are more clever ways to render alien characters than stilted speech. Give them a flaw that could only exist in the world you built for them and then drop them into the world as we know it (like Spock. Duh!) And, voilà--interesting conflict.
But I'm getting off track here...
Let's just say, I have a LOT of interests that I love to pursue. And although I'm primarily a poet, not all of my intelligence wants to take the form of poetry.
So, what shape does your intelligence want to be?
If you're a storyteller like me, you probably can't even keep track of all the inspiration you experience on a daily basis. But before you get overwhelmed at the thought of writing a 300-page novel for every new realization you have, consider what other "shapes" will give your story maximum impact.
Some of my stories were better served as short fiction than poetry. And some worked better as visual art.
Now, I caution you--don't randomly multi-task because you are excited by the idea of being "multi." Trying to do everything isn't what I'm taking about. That's unproductive.
What I am suggesting is that you exercise your latent talents so that the ideas you feel moved to share with the world get birthed in their most potent form.
How will you know what shape your intelligence wants to be?
Think of the genesis of your idea. Did you hear, see, feel the creation in your mind's eye? Is it music? Is it a picture? Is it two characters talking while they walk through the woods?
Then think about the forms that YOU like to work with--not what you think an audience would like to see. Is it clay? Paint? Are you on a stage? Are you dancing?
Where these two meet, a genuine physical representation of your inspiration is born, and an audience can literally feel that. Basquiat didn't just paint; he was the painting.
Your intelligence is just one of your many inaudible names, but you can introduce yourself better to the world if you let your art come out the way it wants to. And it doesn't hurt to hone those skills through classes and workshops.
We all are many things and multi-layered, and you should never feel that you have to only do one thing for the rest of your life. How boring that would be!
Smash the boxes and exercise your wings. Trust me, they exist.
If you want to check out my visual art, there are pieces currently up at the V-Spot Organic in lower Manhattan. To read some of my recent short fiction, pick up issue 15 of The Mom Egg Review. And as always, you can listen to many of my poems on SoundCloud, or read them in my book Gathering The Waters.
Posted on Thu, January 11, 2018
by Keisha-Gaye Anderson