Seattle, Washington, United States
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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Strange Courage

Hello, Coffee Lovers! I hope all of you had a wonderful and restful holiday. Today, I want to blog about a strange kind of courage I did not know I did not possess in great quantities.

It is the courage to publicly express the inner parts of oneself.

I'm sure by now you all know I am a poet, and (if you have been a reader for an extended period of time) you may have even read one or two of my poems. But I encountered an oddly paralyzing moment yesterday evening.

This story, however, begins a few days ago. My brilliantly talented friend Paige sang with the artist Letters and Lights in the song "Clouds" from his new EP. She did an amazing job (and all of you should go track down that song) and posted the song on Facebook, using the website SoundCloud. It was my first introduction to this community, which shares sounds, songs, and audio together free. I filed this discovery away and went about the rest of my afternoon.

That evening, one of my best friends was reading a poem I'd written and emailed to her. She remarked that my poetry sounds best when read aloud, that it, in fact, was meant to be read aloud. This, too, I filed away. And then I went to bed.

I read somewhere that the mind sorts, judges, and reevaluates information gathered during the day while we sleep. I assume my mind did that two nights ago.

I woke up with a curious idea. Why not make myself a SoundCloud account and read my poetry aloud, recording it, and sharing it with the world? It seemed perfect. So I did it, recording five poems, and posting one on Facebook. But, as I left my computer, total panic gripped me. It wasn't something I could understand or had a frame of reference before? Since when had I ever been concerned by others' opinions? But, for some reason, last night I could think of nothing but the possibility of huge judgment for this sampling of my work.

And now I think I know why. The five poems I chose to record were such personal manifestos, moments of honest, literary nakedness, that a judgment against them would have been a judgment against me at my very core. And that terrified me. It would terrify anyone.

And yet, I could not take the poems down. Something deeper than my fear of negative opinions drove me onward, murmured almost silently that this was important, if only for personal growth. So, I spent a period of time today thinking about my reaction. I'm a huge believer in the importance of straightforward and bracing self expression, but when it came time for it, I was frozen afterward. You see, my greatest shortcoming may be pride.

Proud people do not like to have their self image challenged.

But I think it's not only healthy, but necessary, that we open ourselves up to the possibility of huge criticism. Pride, at its core, is a series of half-truths we delude ourselves and the world with. Breaking through them to reveal the inner self, and indeed the inner ugliness, is in equal parts terrifying and exhilarating. I plan on doing it more often.

And, in case you were wondering, the story has a happy ending. I have amazingly supportive friends. Thank you. All of you.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.



  1. You write so beautifully. Every post makes my day a little brighter.

  2. I'm so glad you did that. It's a blessing for everyone to get to hear it. Love always my talented friend