Allow me to introduce Jennifer Johnson, Writer, Activist, Poet. She is also someone I call Friend. A friend of the best sort. One that inspires me with her words and actions to explore further and love deeper. In this piece, she questions something that I spent years questioning in my own way. Am I an artist? Today, I am amazed how easily I can say those words. Amazed, filled with wonder, and overcome with gratitude.
I am an artist.
Am I a writer?
Not a real writer, I think to myself. I mean, I’ve never written a book or anything.
I have always been a reader… Escaping the reality of a tiny life with words that inspire and challenge the constant flow of my own words writing stories to myself. Well, I think to myself, not really stories…simple reflections of a tiny life; a young girl’s worries and self-doubts.
But I think in dialogue. I imagine the lives of people on the street and tell tales to myself of the way their apartment smells, what they like most about the taste of their favorite foods, how they spell the names of their pets. I hear animals communicating something deeper than words whenever I close my eyes and sometimes I patiently record the songs heard singing in the wind. But a writer?! How bold, how brash~
Writer Activist Poet
is my dream description of myself.
In reality it is no less amazing to call out the truth of some of my more daily definitions. Mother. Educator. Friend. Partner. Poet. Lover of life. Goddess of gratitude…I graduate easily from the mundane to the underlying spirit that imbues all actions. This is the life of an artist, I think.
I am a writer when I create the tiny space around myself that allows words deeper than thoughts to flow. Often, I don’t know what I think about something other than how it makes me feel before I start to write. Free and clear words that erupt like a volcano, shooting lava hundreds of feet in the air or the simple, easy flow of gently lapping waves from source. I create boundaries to protect the flow from my own deep, dark well. I write to capture the experience of a tiny life filled to the brim with hopes, fears, loves and pain. I pause to breathe in the flow of words moved from thoughts even as the pressures of the daily truths of tasks, never-ending tasks weigh into the tiny space created. I remember to protect that space, remember how to guard it from my own doubts and insufficiencies and plain old tired outness that so often tries to win. I take a moment and settle. I let the words emerge if only to soothe myself, if only to prove that my tiny life is filled to the brim with worries and fears, yes, but mostly, this writer’s tiny life overflows with love. Pure love and hope. And so today, I write these words to anchor that hope, that trust and love with my words, these words. The words of a writer who is writing.
A real writer is one who writes. This is real. This is love.
~Written by Jennifer Johnson