What are we?
What are we?
Who are we?
I stared at the refrain posted on the wall before me. The words to the Mighty Writers chant stared back at me. In my head, the letters crossed their arms and scoffed with impatience at my mini-panic attack. Show us what you’ve got, they seemed to say. With shaky legs, I took to the stage.
Last year I visited Mighty Writers with other students in Arcadia’s creative-writing concentration to do a reading and answer questions about what it is like to study writing in college. The whole aim of the evening was to level with the middle and high school students involved in the program and answer their questions about the future.
The atmosphere at Mighty Writers is positively charged with excitement about writing and scholarship in general and that excitement is absolutely contagious. I still remembered the bright decorations on the walls and the even brighter smiles on the Mighty Writers’ faces. This semester, I knew if I only took one trip off campus, I had to return to the Mighty Writers campus.
But when the invitation came this semester, my brain went blank.
With a pile of schoolwork and internship applications on my plate, I’d hardly had time to do much writing in the fall semester. What would I bring to share with the students? I couldn’t just show up empty-handed with nothing to read.
Then I had a thought. True, I hadn’t written much fiction recently, but I had written a lot of poetry. Thinking back to the year before, I remembered how other Arcadia students had shared bits of their original verse at the Mighty Writers event. I remembered how good their poems had been. I remembered how intimidated I’d felt on the van ride back to campus, sharing a seat with such talented bards.
I’d never shared my poetry with an audience before. I had a moment of anxiety at the mere thought of breaking that barrier. How would my words compare to the other poets? Was my work only good inside my own head? What if my rhymes weren’t perfect? What if the beat was all wrong?
Forget it! Just grab your journal and go! The voice inside my head urged me muster my courage.
Which brings us to this moment.
I turned to face the room, which was packed, I might add (gulp!). The words from the Mighty Writers chant on the poster echoed through my head. My hands shook as I opened my book for my reading of “Time Upon A Once,” a poem all about mixed-up fairytales. When I saw my work written out in cramped little stanzas, I breathed a sigh of relief.
I realized in that moment that it didn’t matter whether or not my poetry was perfect. In that moment I was just like the other writers who came to the campus to work on building their writing skills and sharing it with their peers.
I was Mighty, even if my words were not.