I bought this pin two semesters ago on Etsy. I was initially attracted to the typewriter font, and general simplicity of the piece. But moreso, the message was alleviating—just write. Do not pay attention to the jabronies who opt to criticize the arts at every turn. Don’t cast your pearls before swine. Just write.
Of course, this is far easier than it sounds. I think my first error was receiving feedback on my poetry from friends who just don’t understand how poetry works. I fretted when my mate told me that my poetry “wasn’t clear.” I looked at the blue ink on the page. What isn’t ‘clear’ about this?
One of the worst infractions occurred during the launching of my typewriter poetry on Instagram. Some formerly-close friends would read my poetry, filled with angst, sexual tension, and the like, and somehow feel that they had upper-hand knowledge about my life. See, their mistake was that they instinctively tied ‘speaker’ to ‘poet’, which for any basic-level English student, is a no-no.
The third piñata swing happened just at the end of my tenure at seminary. In a class on preaching, a student pointed out that I was a ‘self-proclaimed poet’. The rest of his evaluation was tantamount to my being out of place with the seminarians, and not really cut out for preaching. Fuck him. He doesn’t know what I’m capable of.
And then I opted to graduate early.
So, I suppose writing is me feeling my way through life. Insects have antennae. Dogs, their noses. I have my typewriter.
In a happenstance Starbucks conversation earlier this semester, an attractive hippie-ish, Chaco-wearing seminarian prompted: “So, what type of writing do you want to do?”
I was stupefied. I’ve learned to hate that question. But in that moment, I couldn’t figure out how to explain that a 24 year-old guy, pursuing a Master of Divinity, really wanted to write TV shows. I’ve tried to frame the vision for my life as a writer through the lens of ministry—but it just doesn’t feel natural.
So, rather than attempt to force the patchwork seasons of my life together, I’m going to try and trust that there is indeed a black grand piano plan for Kashif Graham.
Just write, writers. Just write.