to isolate

“to isolate is to lock / the mind inside of itself”

I chose isolate because it was how I had felt all summer. I hadn’t written much over the past three months, but ever since unloading my belongings into my dorm a few days ago, writing is all I’ve been doing. Normally when things get hard for me, writing is my saving grace and the thing I pour it all into. But somehow this summer’s challenges just shut the switch off.

So to sit in a room of other poets, talking about words and associations and accidentally oversharing about what this summer had been for me — it was refreshing, to say the least. This definition of a simple word was enough to remind me what it was about writing that always kept me coming back. There were other people in the room that got it.

And no matter how lonely of an activity writing can be, when you sit down with a group of strangers that get it right away it reminds you of the magic behind what it is that we’re doing. The idea of translation, to me, reminds me that the job of a poet or writer in this world is to throw pride and privacy away and share every gritty detail of your truth to convey a universal idea or feeling and make other people feel less isolated in their experiences, their struggles and their joys.

And so my semester goal is “Tell the truth. All of it.” To play with new styles and new tools, yes. To push myself to try new things and get out of my old habits, yes. But mostly, just to tell the truth. My truth. In the hopes that it could someday help someone accept theirs and feel a little bit less alone.

One Reply to “to isolate”

  1. Thanks for this lovely and thought-provoking first post. It’s fascinating how you move from isolation to sharing, from the verb “to lock” to a fierce commitment to sharing: translation doesn’t have to be throwing away privacy (I’ll throw away privacy for a moment to admit that I like translation because I can hide as a translator in a way a writer can’t!) but I love that it has that energy and meaning for you and I really look forward to the writing that will help you produce.

    “Isolate” is such a great word to begin with, even if often connected to painful emotions; it sounds rich, contains hidden words like “late” and “I,” and has this interesting geographic/geological etymology, connected to the formation of islands. I love how you contrasted it with “lock,” a much more man-made and clinical word and the pile-up of “i” words creates a sense of circularity, of there being no outside. I’m looking forward to seeing if those two lines head anywhere for you, and to seeing similar techniques elsewhere in your poetry this semester!

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