sharing the work


i got into a virtual disagreement of sorts with one of my friends on facebook about sharing work. he is also a writer, and regularly puts his work up on his blog. i emailed him a poem i had written once upon a time that he wanted to share. he wondered why some people, myself included, are so private about sharing their work with the public. i responded that i am either not a poet or an unfinished one, not yet ripe for public consumption. he said something about labels being a very 'american' thing, before we agreed to disagree.

i feel hesitant, always, to share the writing that matters most to me. i have always been a perfectionist and worry about being judged by work that has not quite matured, about it following me around for years like a shadow. i haven't screened any of my student films anywhere. i doubt that i ever will. (curiously, there was a retrospective of spike lee's student films at the brooklyn academy of music last year that was sold out.) maybe someday, if i rise to the notoriety of a chimamanda, i will subject you all to my youthful short stories, reworked and repackaged for 30USD a pop. but this has never seemed appropriate for the moment 'now' as opposed to 'later.'

i also have a profound distaste for the kind of 'bad' (this is a subjective opinion and judgment, of course, take it as you will) poetry/prose i am barraged with daily online. while i appreciate the boon of instantaneous self publishing that creates more opportunities for myself and others to get their work out in front of people, i tend to think that more editorial restraint need be exercised.

all in all, i really do believe that the process of growing and maturing as a writer/artist need not be performed in public.

however, all that being said, i had a really great writers' brunch/reading on saturday that has relaxed my anxiety and boosted my spirits a bit. i think i will share some work, a few paragraphs from the memoir project i have been researching/writing the past several months. i haven't reviewed this particular chapter in months, but found it very touching and astounding that i managed to write this. read it here. --AL.

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