today's inspiration: emily brontë

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'Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again?'


With all my organizing around here, I found an old journal with excerpts from this poem by Emily Brontë which inspired me to read some of her poetry once again. I was curious why my teenage self found it so powerful that I even wrote the quote above at the back cover. What did I know about anguish then? Or even love? On the other hand, am I just underestimating a much younger heart's capacity to feel so deeply?

Reading my old journals makes me think its the latter, because despite a cringe-worthy amount of teen angst, a lot of those writings and observations are very truthful and passionate. And I do miss those moments when I allowed myself to pour my heart out on paper, not caring about what will happen to them later. It seems as though from the moment I thought of myself as a writer, there's always an awareness, even at the back of my mind, that the words I write will one day turn into a poem, an essay, a story, and that someone else will read it.

This isn't a bad thing necessarily, in fact I wrote a lot of pieces because I needed to tell a story and share it to someone. But a lot times, even if I know that I can push myself further, it's much easier to stay on the safe side than allow myself to be vulnerable. Which may also explain why, despite it being my first love, I seldom write poetry these days. Poems are the easiest and also the hardest for me to write. They come naturally but at the same time they also take so much out of me. I wish there was a way to achieve some sort of balance but I know the only way around it is to be less afraid of the unknown depths that my poems can take me.

So inspired by Emily Brontë, the first item on my poetry list is to submit for publication. I think it's a combination of stage fright (or in this case, publication fright), indecision over which poems to send out, and chronic procrastination that's keeping me from doing it. Well, all that is going to change and I'm sharing it here so I can be held accountable for it. I did my homework and found out that majority of literary journals are accepting submissions from August to January, so now is definitely a good time. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

// Listen: Poems of Emily Brontë in MP3 (audiobook format). I was so excited when I found this. Also, you can listen to Wuthering Heights for free here.

6 comments:

  1. I've been talking about this fear and this vulnerability with a certain author who shall remain nameless here (but who is well-known in Australia). I got her to look over some of my poems, precisely because I wanted to take the plunge of submitting them for publication. She told me she only started to find her confidence and willingness to be vulnerable in her mid-thirties. That made me feel better. But you know, I think blogging has helped me accept vulnerability for the gift that it is. Take the plunge Odessa!

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    1. Thanks, Hila. And yes, it also makes me feel better to hear that others feel the same way as I do. A lot of my poet-friends have already published their work and they say the same thing, the hardest part is to send your poems out there.

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  2. Good Lucky Odessa! I love your writing on this blog, I can only imagine how fantastic your poems must be!

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  3. Sometimes I write on pen and paper just to retrieve that old teenage journal-writing freedom that you describe.
    Good luck with your submissions!

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    1. Thanks, rusty! I know what you mean. I still can't "write" with a word processor, I have to start with paper and pen first, then transfer it to a word document. It's probably not the most efficient way to do things but it just works for me.

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