My relationship with words started long ago in an LA apartment with the guidance of my mother and a box set of Hooked-On-Phonics complete with flashcards and lesson plans. It seems my mother’s singular decision to teach me how to read and write at home has more or less set the entire trajectory of my life. A four-year-old bookworm became a seven-year-old plagiarist (I tried to write my own version of Alice in Wonderland, but I didn’t think to actually change anything). Then that plagiarist became an eight-year-old diarist, and that bookworm-diarist has become something of an experimental writer. Over the years, I’ve tried my hand at poetry, fiction, and even a bit of non-fiction.
I suppose the best way to describe my relationship with writing is to say that it’s cathartic. I think I realized from a very young age that I cannot control the things that happen in my life, but I can shout into the void about them, and sometimes the returning echo is enough. Then again, sometimes it’s not. My relationship with writing is not only catharsis it is also an attempt to create meaning. Now, I run the risk of sounding like I’m in the middle of an existential crisis (maybe I am), but I’ll confess to you that I don’t necessarily understand anything in this world or why I’m here in it right now at the same time as you there reading this.
But I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I believe the desire to find significance in one’s existence is an unavoidable side effect of the human experience. And I think poetry is one of the longest-lasting efforts to fulfill that desire. I hope my time with the Ventura County Poetry Project will contribute to this group effort of being, and I look forward to whatever else it brings.