the second phase of creation

your creations become something altogether different
once you expose them to air.
they oxidize
if you will
like blue blood turns red
when it breaches the skin
or reel of film blooms
in a dark room.
when your inner life is brought
to the light of day you are no longer
in control of what
it will become.

it no longer belongs to you.

you have relinquished ownership.

suddenly
it belongs to everyone
& transforms into something
unrecognizable.
it is natural to fear this process
if we consider the act of creation sufficient
in an of itself
but the truth is this is only
the first step.
we must have a sacred space 
to expose our beloved creations
to the light so they may become
what they were meant to be.
they must enter the second phase: 
surrender.
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dear dreamer

the world needs its story-tellers
dreamers
lovers
wordsmiths
artsmiths
quiet helpers
kindness-doers
flower-pickers
letter-senders

creators of all sorts
walks
shapes
& sizes.

If you are one of these
yield to yourself
& the creativity that lives
in you--

do not hold out the world.

for it needs your gifts
it needs your love
it is thirsty for your joy.

theater of the imagination

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players
-As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

Maybe when you act, you’re not necessarily putting up a false facade.

Maybe you are exaggerating, for theatrical effect, parts of yourself that already exist.

You are a living, breathing hyperbole.

You don’t have to live a double life. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be simple, a matter of choosing which parts of yourself to emphasize and which to keep tucked behind the curtain, out of sight but still very much present.

Just because parts of yourself—the wild, loud, sensual, scandalous—are hidden, does not mean they don’t play a role. They are the ones working the pulleys, flicking the switches, turning on the lights and cueing the music.

They are the secret behind your radiance, the reason for the light behind your smile.

Your secret: it’s not your work that’s making you happy. It’s your inner world.

It’s so bright it radiates outward and colors all that you touch.

The mask may hide your true face, but it’s a beautiful mask, something you’re fond of wearing.

Like a magician employing distraction to great effect, you engage in emotional slight of hand. A light deception, nothing to be ashamed of—on the contrary, essential to survival.

It is merely a choice of where to train the spotlight.

Your workday then becomes a playful dance. Your uniform, your costume. Each movement a deliberate expression of your newfound awareness.

Give yourself permission to feel beautiful without regard to your reflection in the mirror. Say your lines, take a bow, and then go home.

Remember what happens when you screw up onstage? You improvise. You take that mistake and you run with it. The show must go on.

The trick is to keep your eyes up and out. The second you make eye contact with a member of the audience, boom, your dance, your lines are wiped clean from your memory. In day-to-day life, you can’t avoid making eye contact. But you can keep your chin up and your inner focus up and out. The woman behind the curtain keeps her gaze high and her inner eye trained on the horizon.

victory

rejoice
in your heartache’s
resurfacing.
in that moment
long ago
you had not the strength
to bear the pain
meant to be yours alone
so you hid it away
until
today.
accept the confirmation
of your unconscious
for finally
you have passed the test.
feel it throb in every fiber
& know you will not break.
this has always been 
about power—
seize it.
you are the agent
of your own momentum.
the moment you embrace it
& declare “this, i can
abide”—
its hold upon you
will ease.
all this time it has waited
for your surrender.
allow it in every atom
& stand victorious
among the wreckage of what
used to be.

instinct

when birds sing
are they aware of their audience?

or do they simply sing
because they know they must?

be the bird you hear through your window
who doesn’t know you’re listening.

sing
not because someone is listening
but because you know you must.

you never know whose ears your song will reach
& you may never find out.

perhaps it is better that way.

again & again

it seems to me that all these books
contain again & again
a single truth
each breath
each page
an iteration never-ending
we seek it
in each new
book
taste
lover
until one day
if we're lucky
we see we've held it
in our hands all along.
even the wisest among us
so long as they draw breath
are fated to repeat
the lesson over and over.
the only difference
between the enlightened & you & I
is that the masters do not read doom
in each new trial.
instead they welcome with open arms 
the certainty of loss & the uncertainty
of what is yet to come.
where we see a curse they see a blessing
& even in their weeping
they smile with all the radiance of youth.

bridges

I've always liked railroad tracks
they're like a bridge
between worlds
romantic
anachronistic
hardly in use
anymore
like rainbows that stretch
from here to the sky
but you almost never see
where they begin
& end
in this place I call home
I see trees everywhere
except four places:
ocean
powerlines
highway
&
railroad tracks
all a means
of getting somewhere
all disappear
into a sort of vertigo
these are the only places
I see the horizon.

Images and words © Jenna Pope 2018

write on

How lucky we are to be literate! Alive on paper! Free to scrawl, scribble, ink, jot, scratch, type! Writing is freedom. Literacy is liberty. To invent, to let the mind wander, to explore the last human freedom. Does your blood flow in ink? Does your heart beat in keystrokes? Does your speech only barely do justice to the sprawling wonderland behind your eyes? Write on, fellow writer. Write on.