My love for writing was developed over many years of internal and external influences. Some of these influences are my own vivid imagination and talent for observation, a high school English teacher, and the written word of G-d. Throughout my life, poetry has served many different purposes, but to my delight has become something more precious than I had thought possible. Poetry has become more than my own expression of myself, but it has become a form of beneficial ministry to myself and to others.
Growing up in a lower class family, I concluded at an early age that imagination was very important. Lack of external satisfaction and pleasures led to the development of my inner creativity. However, at this point writing took a backseat to Barbie dolls and coloring. Little did I know that the same imagination that had me in my backyard setting a table with leaves and dirt would eventually allow me to express my deepest thoughts on paper. As far as I can recall, reading and writing were never areas of complication for me in school. Reading was worthwhile and writing was enjoyable. Up until the twelfth grade, they were little more than that. However, Mrs. Thompson helped change that. An Honors English teacher dedicated to challenging her students, she continues to stand out in my mind. In her class I developed a new regard for literature and poetry. I learned that I could read, write, and memorize large amounts of material when it was required of me because she expected her students to succeed. More importantly, I realized a personal potential for writing. Her affirmation encouraged me to write more and to strive not for excellence in writing, but effect.
After gaining a genuine love for poetry and writing on the inside, I began to look around for tangible ideas and inspiration. I found these in song lyrics, the poems of others, nature, personal experiences, and in the experiences of those around me. Nevertheless, the most refining influence that my writing has encountered is the Bible. Its writing is beyond comparison. The Psalms of David, the Song of Solomon, the letters of Saul: I find great inspiration in these. Above all, I have concluded that G-d is a poet, and He ministers to me through my writing. Recently, I wrote a haiku that sums up my new understanding of the ultimate purpose of my writing: "Words are not my own; Yeshua is a Poet; I just hold the pen." I would never have imagined that G-d would use my works for His ministry.
In conclusion, I don't believe that I was necessarily born a poet. Everyone has a potential to write poetry; one only has to be bold enough to write down the abstract thoughts that occupy a human mind on a daily basis. Outside influences have definitely shaped my writing into what it is and what it will become. Poetry has become the "baring of my soul," and sometimes it can be difficult to share with others. Writing does not always come naturally for me, either. There is joy in the struggle, though, and the finished outcome is worth the struggle, especially when the L-rd uses my writing as ministry in ink...*
*This was a "cause and effect" essay that I wrote for a composition class in 2003.