By Kelsey Horton
May you remember that there is no perfect word —
just like there is no perfect boyfriend, no perfect eyelash,
no perfect way you should have responded to the cruelty
spewing from a friend’s grieving lips at the high school lunch table
so many years ago.
May you fuss and fret and
stew in your perfectionism,
call your mom in hysterics in the middle of the night,
and choose to forge ahead.
May you let go.
(Perfection is a cruel dirty myth.)
May you find your voice in flickers and starts,
in the fumblings and breakthroughs and hope that unleash
generations of stories, retellings, flipped perceptions, fierce expressions.
May you fall in love with Kerouac or Atwood or Bradbury
when you’re fifteen years old and dredging your way through adolescence –
may you spend years imitating your influences, letting them swirl their way into your words
until you can no longer tell
Which is Who and What is When
and Who you even are anymore.
May you accumulate piles of journals whose raw wisdom guides you home,
and may you honor the power of your Voice
that glimmers through the cracks of those long-ago scribblings.
May you know that there are no Good Writers or Bad Writers –
just Writers that Write and Writers that Say They Write.
(Pick your camp wisely. Avoid the sidelines.)
May you skip a few social outings and delve into some
painful memories and make a few writer friends along the way.
May you explode with excitement every once in a while
in awe of the words that come out,
cooing and admiring them and brimming with pride.
May you know the miracle of saying “I made that.”
May you anchor in the glowing seed of your heart that
one writer’s success is every writer’s success. Be gracious.
(Jealousy is a cruel dirty trap)
May you believe in the magic of sloppy first drafts –
may you give yourself permission to write them,
may they reveal the embryonic mush of the words
that rattle in your bones and whisper for release.
May you never stay small.
May you serve the world boldly, vividly, in such a fiery craze that you forget about
impressing your parents
finding an agent
May you remember that you are just a channel for a dazzling force
so much bigger than you can comprehend.
May you ignore the advice of the times.
May you smile with teeth.
May you shine.