Monday, February 25, 2013

A Novel Waits, But For Now . . . Poetry Is Muse

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. ~Robert Frost

Our About the Author series continues with Sharon Keys Gray.

“I AM NOT A POET!” I told myself.  Those words resounded in my mind with decisive emphasis on not.  Recalling that as a child in grade school nothing caused me to panic more than receiving a homework assignment to write a poem, confirmed this to be fact.  I, who had earned straight ‘A’s in English grammar and also won the class spelling bee, became completely paralyzed when asked to attempt to compose a poem. 
I remember the hollow unsupported sensation in my stomach on hearing the assignment; like standing in an elevator that drops so fast that it feels like your stomach is still at a previous floor while the rest of your body has fallen away somewhere below.
My eyes would grow round and wide as quarters, then my gaze would drop to the floor in accession to defeat.  Nonetheless, I’d spend hours staring at an empty page in my composition book, pencil poised in hand in hope that some phrase, some snippet might leap to mind that I could capture before it was lost to me.  It never did.  I accepted this as divine revelation that a poet I was not destined to be.
I did experience success in high school, however, crafting creative writing pieces and writing essays.  Consequently, over the years I retained the notion that someday at my leisure I would write a novel.  One evening a couple of years ago, the idea resurfaced and I decided the time to begin to write had come; but how to start?  It occurred to me that there might be others like me in the area who were perhaps meeting and honing their craft.  So, I surfed the Web to see what was available and there I found the Women’s Writing Circle.  There was a meeting scheduled the very next Saturday and I sent an email confirming that I would attend. 
Nervous and shy at first, I shrunk into my chair to observe the meeting.  But the ladies of the Circle were so warm and encouraging that I soon came out of hiding.  I’d brought a piece that I’d written and shared it with the group.  To my pleasure I received both genuine praise and kind suggestions on how I could make the piece more powerful.  Such a happy discovery was the Women’s Writing Circle for me! 
I believe it was the ladies of the Circle who slew the demon that suppressed my ability to write poetry.  For it was not long after starting to meet with the group that my first poem drifted to consciousness as I lay sleeping one night.  And, when I read that poem to them, saying that I am not a poet, their resounding reply . . . “OH YES YOU ARE!”
I have three poems featured in the Slants Of Light anthology.  “Alone In My Sunshine Room” was inspired by my thoughts and reflections as I sat in a sunny room of my house.    The poem called “A Glance” was inspired by the view out of a window on a snowy day.  The elegy “When Death Comes Late” flowed from thoughts of an aging family member’s perspective on life.  Although still intent on writing that novel, I am happy to have a poetry muse as my companion.

Sharon Keys Gray grew up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Philadelphia and is proud to say that she is successful product of the Philadelphia Public School System.  “My teachers saw potential in me,” says Sharon.  “They encouraged me and nurtured my talents, and I am forever grateful to them.”  Sharon has made her career in Information Technology and works for a large financial institution.  “I continue to enjoy my career,” she says, “but I feel compelled to write, which perhaps is a calling to a second career.”
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