Member Rara Avis
The main site was updated this morning with a brand new section and about a score of new poems that try to make sense of this week's senseless tragedy. Normally, after an update, I would be emailing each of the contributing writers to let them know where to find their work, and imploring them to check everything closely so we can quickly correct MY inevitable blunders. Instead, I'm posting this notice here, so I can start getting ready for the next update. I hope each of you who have contributed will take a trip to the main site and make sure I didn't mess up your work too badly. If you find a problem, please email me and we'll get it fixed.
Oh, and lest I forget - thank you!
Adding a score of new poems to the main site was not a trivial task. Because each of the sections are linked, because all of the poems include a "Next" button, because every author has their own page listing their contributions, those twenty or so pages blossomed into nearly thirty hours of intense labor. To get those twenty pages to function required uploading nearly three thousand. It didn't help, too, that I've been rewriting all of our database software in preparation for our imminent move, meaning the new pages had to be "shoe horned" into the old system (leaving a lot more room for errors, by the way).
I mention all of this not for sympathy, but to emphasis how incredibly important I think this is.
There are so many people out there right now struggling for some semblance of understanding, searching for some measure of comfort. Your words, my friends, can help. They can make a very real difference in someone's life right now. Your words may be the kindling needed to ignite a light that, for many, has been all but extinguished by the darkness thrust into our faces this past Tuesday morning. If you've already contributed, I applaud you. If you haven't, I urge you to consider doing so.
Many of you, I know, are struggling with your own demons. You feel you have nothing to say. And I understand. It's so easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer immensity of everything that needs to be said, with the sheer chaos of everything we feel. Our words are finite, and the impact right now seems all too infinite. We cannot make sense of the limitless. Nor should we try.
Cast your eyes not to the center of this boundless, incompressible room, but rather into the corners. Into the crevices. When I wrote "Scared," I tried to concentrate on the people, because that's what I want to remember. Not the staggering numbers, not the devastation of landmarks, but the individual lives. I spoke of my own questions, I spoke of my hopes for unity. Even then, I suspect my canvas was too wide. Poetry is never about "big" things, but rather should be about how those big things, and the little ones, too, effect our personal lives. If you are trying to write about the tragedy and feel yourself falling short, then stop trying. Write instead about your heart. Not the Universal heart, not the American heart, but about yours.
If there's one thing I've learning in three years at Passions, watching over twenty million visitors respond to thousands of poems, it's that poetry is necessarily very personal. What you have to say cannot ever be said by me, or by any other person. More importantly, somewhere out there is a person, perhaps a wife worried about her son in the military, maybe a man with too much anger, possibly a teen dating an Arab, someone who can identify exactly with what you have to say to them. Only you can reach them. Only you can console, advise, or touch. Only you, and the story you have to tell as a writer, can make a difference.
I urge you to try.