My Google Doc of Unofficial Reviews
Updated: Nov 7, 2021
You must collect words, too. Screenshots of cute texts. Song lyrics in the margins of your journal. Words you accidentally whisper each time they cross your mind---even in public---because they are delicious, & now you're burning in Gala-appled splotches of red, & you're hoping no one saw the reverent way your lips moved, & you're wondering if why we really pray is because some phrases deserve to be closer to the divine... So, (we're in agreement) you do this, too.
I collect words. Themed folders of screenshots lounge across my desktop. Nested folders on my Google Drive fractal inward toward ever more specific compilations of quotes & poems & critiques. Two weeks from receiving my undergraduate degree in creative writing, I find myself compiling yet another. It's a document of "Nice Stuf Artists Said abt my Writing." This "Stuf" was said in a variety of contexts,
from an awards ceremony
this writer’s range of voice is...sometimes witty, sometimes humorous, and sometimes (actually!) sublime
to my Instagram DMs
not going to sit here and lie like I can accurately review poetry but fuck dude that was legit
If you're a writer & you've written something nice about my writing (ever), you're probably featured on my Google Doc of unofficial reviews. Yes, Jess, that includes you. This particular collection of words is less about my ego than about my survival as a writer. I need a reason, now that I'm running out of deadlines, to write more poems than I write witty email subject lines. I need to believe that my writing has the same power as ritual prayer & black magic, that it can incant a new reality.
So I embolden the words that embolden me: The whole poem casts a consistent spell, & this section is powerfully intimate and poetic---and enchanting.
I keep a tally of the creators who've made it---who've changed realities---& who've said they think I'll make it, too. That I'll make something worth looking forward to (We look forward to reading more, I look forward to your continued work, I can't wait to read more, You are headed for big things, Thank you, so thank you, Thank you).
I gleam adjectives into jewel tones: stunning, astounding, smashing, phenomenal...
& I organize, frantically. As graduation approaches & other identities begin flooding out (& in) in an alarming torrent, I fortify this one: I'm a writer.
I often encounter students who love the idea of writing. Rarely do I meet someone who is already a writer.
I am a writer.