Gay Writes

Why do I write?

by Ked Kirkham

I know we are a creative bunch. And I have had the pleasure of watching some of that creativity unfold in esthetics and coiffure design, fashion and apparel production, fine art and symphonic music, as well as drum circles, and hobbies and crafts. Give me a little Uke with my shaved ice! We have entertainers on the page, the small screen, the stage and the big screen. And the front page.

My school years were the 60s and my awakening the 70s; the biggest city I’ve ever lived in is still Salt Lake. In those many years I have learned about us — our community — from others who expressed themselves. Some freely, others not as much.

Why do I write? Someone asked me to talk about that or to write about it.

I am creative. I believe we all are. And, no, we are not all creative in the same way. Until I started attending the Gay Writes writing group in 2011, I felt there was no place to express myself, in the way I most wanted to. This group is part of the DiverseCity Writing Series writing groups, sponsored and supported by Salt Lake Community College’s Community Writing Center, located on the plaza of the Main Library in Salt Lake.

Immediately, I was accepted. Just as I was.

I wanted to improve my essay skills. Which hasn’t happened yet, to my thinking, but no one allows me to stop. Indeed, I am encouraged to keep trying. And you have read some of my efforts. One side effect to this is that I rediscovered a joy for poetry which I had kept buried since high school.

I am in awe of the poets around me, right here, in our community. Getting to know them, hearing them develop and expand their art has been inspiring. I love that opportunity to share and respond to the turn of phrase, the measure of pause, the play of sound that reading and listening to poetry can be.

Words. How I want words. They touch me, unlike any other medium. Even in our popular movies, music, and literature, I find gems that reflect my enjoyment of words.

Ariel wanting to learn about fire and why it — what’s the word? — burns. Joan to David, in frustration, that there he goes saying he’s not nostalgic, asking “what’s another word for it?” Even Janis in dismay that when mother answered the door “she called you boy instead of your name!”

Disney has enlightened me, but it is rubbing elbows with real-life writers that have precipitated my own efforts. Likewise, my painting but this will not be on display yet.

I have accepted the opportunity to share my writing with a public reading of my poetry. I am stunned at the quantity of it there is, but I am trying to sort through for pieces that reflect the joy I feel in it. Much of it is nature-based, nearly all of it experiential. I often say that I see poems. Many times, they come while I am traveling, so reflect my visual experience. They also reflect my social isolation: birds show up more often than people, and trees more often than flowers. I can get all flowery, still, but nothing like my 15-year-old self.

On Thursday, Aug. 23, from 7–8 p.m., I will read a selection from my poetry at the Marmalade Branch of the Salt Lake City Library. I am using the multipurpose room upstairs, where I have enjoyed other poetry and literary presentations, and where there is plenty of room.

This is a free, public presentation. I am anxious about it, as well as hopeful that others will see that it can be done, that there is a place for their own creativity to be expressed.

You are creative! I believe that to my core. Let us all see it!

Gay Writes is a DiverseCity Writing Series writing group, a program of SLCC’s Community Writing Center. The group meets the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month, 6:30–8 p.m., 210 E. 400 S., Ste. 8.

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