By Madeleine F White, Editor
Last week I was one of three writers sitting in a restaurant. At different stages of our creative careers, we’d been brought together by a well-known YA writer who was also part of our lunch-time trio.
As the afternoon progressed, a gift of the journal of Frida Kahlo exchanged hands: an amazing illustrated book which, with its handwriting and images, gave a true insight into the icon’s creative process. The hot-off-the-press copies of Write On! I was able to share completed our gift-giving and we embarked on a fascinating discussion around creatives and creators.
This Christmas Eve, I thought you might like to ‘eavesdrop’ on an afternoon I found both moving and inspiring.
Writer 1: “When we write, it’s as though we are offering a calling card of ourselves. Especially with poetry; we can use our work to tell people exactly who we are.”
Writer 2: “I get that completely. Our minds don’t work in the same way others might. Look at Frida Kahlo. This book is a calling card if ever there was one. Full of her doubts and insecurities, but, ultimately, her essence shines though. It’s a brilliance she doesn’t necessarily see, though.”
Writer 1: “Yes, how we create doesn’t always follow the rules we set for ourselves – and the expectations others have of us! I’m increasingly realising, though, that I want to use my writing to find my tribe; sharing my work in person with people who I think are like me is a way of connecting at a deeper level.
I also harbour a secret hope that, whenever my work is published my readers will see themselves more truly, because I’ve given of myself. Maybe even resulting in creative work of their own… I hope my writing resonates with others strongly enough for them to want to connect with me and my ideas and, therefore, each other. In this way, we can create a tribe of like-minded people!”
Writer 3: “I agree entirely with the sentiment but don’t like the word ‘tribe.’ To me, it’s a word that evokes differences rather than similarities. Instead, I like to see my writing as putting out a collection of stars.
My personality, my emotions and beliefs – everything I am, in fact – goes in to my work. I always hope that one of the young people I write for might pick up some of these ‘stars’ I’ve put inside. The point is this: I want my stars to shine a light on where my readers’ stars are hidden, so they have the courage to draw them out from that innermost part of themselves. Once they’ve done so and start shining on their own, they can light the way for others, too.”
Writer 1: “So what you’re saying is that creatives are star makers, passing the embers of hope from one to the other and, by connecting as a whole with other stars that shine brightly for us, we create something that is far greater than the sum of the parts?”
Writer 3: “Exactly. That’s the magic of stars!”
So, on this Christmas Eve of 2023, no matter who you are, where you are or what you’ve been through, have the courage to find your own star and write it into being. Stars are a universal symbol of faith, after all.
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Have the courage to find your own star and write it into being.