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Rooted in Poetry – Here is Where I Am: A Poet’s Affirmation

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A character in transition is always a good place to start.

I have offered this advice to many writing students over the years.  We enjoy reading about characters in the midst of change, characters who face a wall of I can’t do this.  They inspire us by taking a leap of faith, even when terrified.

My poem, The 8:08, reflects my own leap of faith. Before writing it, I didn’t feel I had anything to say. The previous day, school had ended. I would not return next year and I had no future plans.  How could I write about a void?

Then I remembered a documentary I’d seen recently about the writer Joan Didion.  I remembered that she’d said she used a “reporter’s eye,” writing as a an observer to her own life. She wasn’t interested in telling a story; she was interested in telling the truth. 

That inspired me. My approach to writing The 8:08 moved from This is what I have to say to Here is where I am.

We will always live in moments of uncertainty. I have no idea what the future will bring, not only for me, but for our country. The page, however, refutes uncertainty.  It is a white canvas, destined for creation, and within its square space, holds the promise of an affirmation.  Even while describing loss, our words are born, again and again and again.

Jennifer Mills Kerr

Jennifer Mills Kerr’s flash fiction and poetry have been recently published in Blink-Ink, Platform for Prose and Writing in a Woman’s Voice. An East Coast native, she loves mild winters, anything Jane Austen, and the raucous coast line of Northern California. You can read more of her creative work at www.jennifermillskerr.com.

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