Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.
Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.
Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don’t have a baby,
call you a bum.
The reason people want M.F.A.’s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else’s mannerisms
is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you’re certified a dentist.
The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.
— Marge Piercy, For The Young Who Want To —
I came across this poem through a fellow blogger’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday a couple weeks ago, and was stunned at how the words resonated with me. With all the stresses of my Real Life, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to write. Isn’t that so ironic? To write is such a simple concept, and yet, it can be one of the hardest things to execute.
Marge Piercy breaks down the pressures of society and how they view the act of writing, beautifully in her poem, and so I pass this on to all the young and budding writers who want to. No one will want to read your work unless you want to write it. So hold on to that desire and that passion, and go make something breathtaking with it.
Changes are afoot!
I’m changing the format of my weekly Writer’s Quote Wednesday feature. In the past, I used this feature as a way to share my poems that were inspired by that week’s quote.
Moving forward, I’ve decided to transfer the spotlight from my poetry to the writers’ work that I share every week. Thus, these posts will start with the full quote or poem that I want to share that week, followed by a brief afterword of sorts.
I’ve decided to make this change because I want to be able to share work from other writers and poets and give them the full spotlight they deserve. I hope you guys will like their work too!