When in Ireland, don’t let the joy get knocked out of you.

5 Jul

I just got out of my Literature and Film class in which Mary O’Malley, one of Ireland’s leading poets, came to speak. She read some of her work and then asked if there were any aspiring writers in the room. I shyly raised my hand, along with three other people.

She then went around the room and asked each of the aspiring writers what they prefer to write. When she came to me, I said that I’m working on a memoir and memoir-related articles, since that has been my recent focus. Her first question, “How old are you?” is one I get a lot in reference to the fact that I’m writing a memoir. However, when I said “19” she was surprised, but didn’t make any negative remark. She just said, “Good girl,” and all I could do was smile. She then asked what the memoir would be focused on, and I just said my childhood. Her next question caught me off guard. She asked, “When do you think that ended?” (referring to my childhood). I was stunned. I couldn’t answer, much less put together any coherent sentence. She then told me that she didn’t think she knew when her childhood ended either. However, our conversation, though very short, has kicked me out of my writing rut that I’ve been moaning and groaning about for weeks. Her final piece of advice to the aspiring writers was this: “Don’t let the joy get knocked out of you,” and I think that’s what really kicked me into writing gear. It’s something that I sometimes forget: the joy. The pure, simple, and yet strong joy that I get from just writing how I feel. It’s an amazing, amazing feeling. It’s the reason I began writing in the first place….because it was my refuge, my security, the happiness that overpowered the pain.

I think as writers we all need a kick in the pants sometimes, and I got mine today. I’ve opened the Word document of my memoir, and for the first time in weeks, I’m not at a loss for words. They’re there, clear as day, waiting to be written, waiting to come alive on the page as only words can do.

16 Responses to “When in Ireland, don’t let the joy get knocked out of you.”

  1. Besma at Life Demiraged July 5, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    That’s why we all write, for the pure joy of it!

    • ameliaclaire92 July 5, 2012 at 9:04 am #

      Yeah, it was something that I needed to be reminded of though.

  2. N Filbert July 5, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    “coming alive on the page…as only words can do”
    how true is that! great post & thanks for fueling the inspiration along to us

  3. Lisa W. Rosenberg July 5, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Glad to hear your rut is over. Remembering the joy is a great antidote to the doubts all writers feel, I think.

  4. Vicki Winslow July 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    And joy is contagious! Pass it on….

  5. LA Edwards July 5, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Yay! What wonderful advice. I am glad to see that you are out of your rut. It was meant to be your meeting this poet. I am so happy for you. Cheers!

  6. Alethea Eason July 6, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    At 19 you are wise and amazing and an authentic writer. Let the joy stay with you forever.

  7. belasbrightideas July 9, 2012 at 12:38 am #

    Nice. Great way to get the pump primed! Sounds like a good teacher.

    • ameliaclaire92 July 9, 2012 at 6:47 am #

      She was the perfect poet to come speak. It gave me a nice kick in the pants in terms of my writing.

  8. insearchofitall July 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Thanks. This old woman need to read that. Appreciate you sharing.

    • ameliaclaire92 July 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

      You’re welcome. I’m glad that you enjoyed it. πŸ™‚

  9. edlynch July 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Some poets simply speak to you, do they not? And then they become a part of you, forever.

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