Monday, August 22, 2011

And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.

~Twelfth Night Act 5, scene 1

h my teachers are so inspiring. I want to be like all of them. Today in poetry workshop, we talked about authenticity. We read essays by poets who pondered this idea and how it is expressed through writings. The artist faces many dilemmas, but one in particular that I want to discuss is the dilemma of authenticity. To be authentic is a tough thing because you have to decide how you're going to do it. We think authenticity is genuineness and using your own voice, and that's true. But as a writer, you have to be authentic to your audience. You have to take into account what your readers want, since you are, after all, writing for them. But the way that this authenticity fails is when the writer forgets that while his product has to appeal to someone, it still has to maintain its appeal to him.

My poetry has gone through workshops and conferences and critiques and forums, and everyone from friends, students, teachers and strangers have all had their say in what should be done with it and how it can be best revised, and that is needed. It is a well-known fact that nothing beautiful can be generated without the input of fresh eyes and ears who have no bias to your work. But as artists, it is a common downfall to get so caught up in what other people want, that we forget the most important thing which is that our work has to have value to us. My poems need to mean something to me, and if I sell out to the point that I'm only including or adding what others think should be there when I know deep down, because I know my poems better than anyone, that I am destroying the soul of the poem, I have gone too far.

Dear ones, I must inform you of something. I feel like God is trying to tell me something. For so long, I have lived under the guidance and supervision of others. And this is a good thing which I have no intention of disrupting. But it has to change. I have realized that I have taken a certain ideal too far. "With many advisers, plans succeed," the proverb says. True, very true. But I am forgetting that it is I who makes the decisions on my life. Those I trust more than anything have golden advice which I appreciate sincerely and take seriously, but I have to recognize that these people are not the sole authority on what is best for me. I'm sure most of you already knew that, and no one (most of the time) has ever given me advice I did not first ask for, so this is a realization more for myself than for (most of) the rest of you. But after asking twenty people what they think I should do, and hearing twenty different responses, I have to accept the fact that it comes down to me. And only me. I decide. I act. I cannot let myself be run by others anymore.

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