By: Shanta Brown
” Writing was and still is my calm and happy place.”
As an undergrad at Converse College, I wrote a lot outside of my regular homework assignments. Nothing would come between me and my writing, not even my roommate begging me to come hang out. Writing came so natural to me, like breathing. Whether I was having a good or bad day, I would write. Writing was and still is my calm and happy place. All of my family and friends should be thankful for this!
Fast forward to almost 20 years, I have a husband, 3 kids, and a dog. I was like: Writing? Who, what, when, why and how?
I must pay homage to all the wives and mothers who have mastered the art of living and writing! At first, I didn’t know how. Honestly, I’m still trying to figure it out, but I’m learning. Slowly, I had allowed my happy and calm place to disappear. Of course, it didn’t happen overnight nor was it intentional on my part. However, it happened and by the time I noticed, it was too late, or so I thought.
Professors. They Do More Than Teach.
Thankfully, Professors Rick Mulkey and Susan Tekulve kept their eyes on me. Even though I was no longer their student, they invited me into their friendship circle. I’m forever grateful for that. They always made sure to invite me to reading and writing events. Along with them and my forever writing friend, Kathryn, writing remains a part of me. Even though I neglected it, the talent I have for writing never left me. I continued going to readings, but not writing; or editing someone else’s work; but not writing. At the time, I didn’t realize writing was slowly wooing me back. Even while attending readings and editing others’ work, my mind was full of poems that were not yet written – I just didn’t know it.
I’ve always had something to say. My husband will totally vouch for this. Looking back on this journey, I’m inspired to write a note to my 20-year old self and to my future self.
Dear Poet Shanta,
Yes, you are, and are going to be. I know right now that it doesn’t look like it, but you are going to write your heart’s desire on paper. The change you wish you to see, you will write about. Writing loves you, and you love it. However, you two will break up for some years before reuniting. Please know that this time apart will be necessary. You will need to grow into your many roles: adulthood, womanhood, and motherhood. These roles will be your rearview mirror, your connector – linking your upbringing to your future. I know that you can’t see it, but I can. Whatever you do, just keep internally speaking. I promise you that when it’s time, you’ll be ready. Writing will come back to you, and you’ll get that same flutter in your stomach, and even in your soul, to grab that paper and pen, and you’ll start to write; because you know that you have a lot to say!
So, for those of you who were bitten by the writing bug like me, I want to leave you with a small token of encouragement. Be satisfied with each stage of life that you live, and when writing makes its reappearance in your life, HOLD ON and WRITE ON!
Shanta Brown is a poet who writes about her strong southern family roots. She is an MFA candidate at Converse College. She’s also a Junior Poetry Editor at South 85 Literary Magazine. She was also recently selected for a Converse College MFA Graduate Teaching Assistantship to begin Spring 2021. She resides in Spartanburg, SC with her husband and three children.
Feature Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.