Not Your Story (there’s a question for you to answer at the end)

I’m gonna keep this vague: a very sad-and-complicated(TM) thing happened to a friend of mine, and I started writing a poem about it.  I’m not trying to take on my friend’s perspective in the poem; I’m writing as the friend of someone who had the sad-and-complicated(TM) thing happen to them.

My careful, politically and socially conscious self says I shouldn’t be writing this poem, even if it’s not gonna be seen by anyone else (except Lytton, if it’s decent).  I have no experience in this realm, and my interpretation of the situation doesn’t matter in the long run.  Besides, my friend doesn’t even like poetry, so wouldn’t is be antithetical to her character to write a poem based on a thing from her life?

My “fuck PC culture” self (I hate to admit it exists) says “um, your feelings are valid and worth writing about, and it’s not like your friend is gonna write a poem about it anyway, so it will be in an art form that she doesn’t use, so you’re in the clear stop worrying just fucking write the thing.”

But, like, other poets have had the sad-and-complicated(TM) thing happen to them, and they’re not gonna appreciate my appropriation (even if they don’t know it’s happening).


I’m probably gonna write the damn thing and keep it in a Word doc for the rest of my life, and my future kid(s) will stumble upon it and be like, “Wow, I can’t believe Mom committed appropriation in her poetry.”  Thankfully, I have some time to think of a decent explanation.

Do you guys get writing-blocked by the fear of appropriating?

One Reply to “Not Your Story (there’s a question for you to answer at the end)”

  1. Hey Megan,
    Thank you for sharing!
    I think we have all been there at one point or another. I, too, have written from the perspective of a close friend who was struggling with sad-and-complicated things and chose to write a poem about it. Multiple poems actually. I thought it was healing for both of us (I ended up showing her the poems.) Perhaps you can look at it as healing. I think that writing a poem about it makes you more empathetic or at least lets you get your own ideas into words/images.
    Best of luck,

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