Last Thursday, I had the chance to hear a poet and teacher, Dr. Linda Opyr, speak. Teens who were participating in the Creative Writing Retreat, facilitated by Long Island Writing Project teachers, and the teachers I've been working with in the LIWP Summer Institute had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Opyr read her poems and talk to us about being a writer. Her collection of poetry is called If We Are What We Remember and it is beautiful. Hearing her read her poems was mesmerizing- she read with such heart and expression and voice.
Dr. Opyr spoke with such passion: my pen could not go fast enough to keep up with her wise gems. "When you write, you have the opportunity to change people's lives," she said. Your writing can send someone more deeply into their own life. She said through writing, "what was lost was found again."
She described writer's block through the metaphor of a field. Whether something is blooming under the surface or if the field is full of vegetation, the field is still a field all the same. Sometimes there will be many, many ideas and other times you will feel empty. There is room in you for both the flood of ideas and the famine and,importantly- both pass.
Dr. Opyr had many great ideas for writing prompts when you are stuck. One of her poems begins with the line "You must tell them this." Part of the LIWP Summer Institute includes writing a piece and bringing it to publication. I used that line "You must tell them this" as inspiration for a poem that I will publish this week. I hope to share it with the TWT Slice of Life community next week! I love this line and all its' possibilities- who is the you? Who is them? What must you tell them and why? I have my take on it- what would yours be?
Here is a link to Dr. Linda Opyr's site in case you are interested in learning more about this teacher turned poet: http://www.lindaopyr.com/home