“All art is symbolic. If we understand a symbol to be the bodying forth of an abstraction, or the outward expression of the inward, all art is symbolic. Our culture, however, has great difficulty in understanding this simple premise, and therefore has a very limited ability to understand art. Our culture tends either to interpret literature in a purely literal way—as in reading a novel for the plot, or for the “relatable” quality of a character—or to concern itself purely with the ideas of a work—as in classrooms around the country where great books are taught as if they were mere receptacles for ideas, the primary concern being what students always call the “hidden meaning.”
— Ryan Wilson, How To Think Like a Poet
So where do I begin? The beginning seems a great place to start, so here goes.
I started writing poetry after realizing my love for books. While in the middle of reading an Eric Carl book, strangely enough, I recall believing a certain sentence Eric wrote in the book was finely structured and well-put. Who thinks those kind of thoughts as a single-digit kid perusing a book with brightly-colored caterpillars on the front?! Well, me, that’s who. I’ve progressed from reading Eric Carl to finding my way to the Patrick Bowers thriller series written by Steven James when I turned about 19 or 20-ish. I wasn’t reading Mr. Carl all the way up till then, but mostly the Bible, Nancy Drew, the Brio Girls, or whatever my mother had in her collection, like Francine Rivers and Max Lucado. Fiction novels are the best, though, in my opinion. Imaginary worlds that seem real and that can take you places that you cannot get to by any other means — yeah, I’m about that life. Steven James is art, poetry, thrills, and awesomeness all rolled into one. But don’t take my word for it — it’s an experience you have to experience.
“Beauty is God’s handwriting.” — Charles Kingsley
My greatest inspiration for writing poetry nowadays are life experiences, Nate Feuerstein, and Steven James. Life experiences are always an inspiration for anything, though, it doesn’t have to be just poetry. Like a couple of weeks ago, life inspired me to pay my car insurance otherwise I wouldn’t be driving very often. Life motivates us to do all kinds of things 🙂 Nate Feuerstein is a Christian rapper and literally my favorite artist of all time, any time and every time. He’s a huge influence for me in more ways than one, but, in this case, definitely for writing poetry.
All the credit, however, doesn’t go to rappers, authors, anything or anyone else. I’m only a vessel for Jesus Christ. I can only say what’s true and it’s true when I say that the Holy Spirit usually speaks through me. I can’t write on my own. I can’t even speak on my own and eloquently place my order at Checkers without reciting it in my head 1,000 times beforehand (their milkshakes, though!). Jesus will place a certain idea on my heart, give me a line or two to work around and together we’ll go from there. I believe I’m the closest to Jesus when I write. I really believe that. It’s our thing we do. Despite how messy life is, I can always just take out a pen and pad and sit in His presence while leaving the distractions behind my back. I’ve been writing short stories, couplets, poems, and half-finished novels for what seems like forever, and Jesus has always sat beside me while I’ve done it. Not to say that He’s not with me in and through everything else, but He feels closest when I write. Does that make sense?
But Moses said to the LORD, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?”
— Exodus 6:12, New International Version
I also believe Jesus has given me the gift of writing as a way speak to others. Time and time again, people who have read what I write are touched by the words. I thank God for that because I’m not worthy to be used by Him. At all. Like, at all. Romans 3:23 says, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” I have definitely fallen short. I fell from the top, bounced down the stairs, landed on ground level, kept rolling into the horizon, and finally arrived at Loser Valley. But thank goodness for His grace because I need it. Loser Valley is no fun place to be because I know I’ve failed, I know I don’t deserve God’s grace and mercy, and I most certainly don’t deserve to be used by God for his wonderful plans and purposes. I don’t consider myself to be a wordsmith at all, but just somebody who complies to the calling God has placed on my life. I write. That’s just my thing and it’s what I do.