I have written and buried multiple posts in the last few weeks. It’s hard to know what work  to shop around versus what to press here. As I listen for the muse and follow the silence, more words come. More pain comes. I sit with it and work with it and grow. My discovery? I have a lot to say on a topic I thought I was done with. I admit it. I was reading the news. Ferguson reminded me of what I have worked so hard to change in myself, and revealed an uncomfortable number of whys. A collection of poetry is forming.

I am always shocked when I grow a poetry collection. It is not the genre I associate myself closely with. My last post may have led you to believe I saw myself as a child prodigy in the field, but the truth is, Poetry was fun and easy and I outgrew it. In college, I took a Fiction class and poetry disappeared from my life. I am wordy and lengthy and rambly. I do not stay on task well. Fiction is a better medium for that.

But then I outgrew Fiction and began writing truths. Then I started digging for deeper truths. In this last week, I have challenged myself to ask questions in order to deepen my thought processes. I recognized that my questions and opinions would be unpopular, but I asked anyway. Right there, that is growth. It is the horrible painful I’m-pretty-sure-people-think-I’m-a-leprous-internet-troll-racist growth, but there is a delightful goodness in being humbled because you have exercised your voice. It’s another layer on your onion, or whatever metaphor you prefer for personal complexities.

Race, abuse, sex, religion, family, strangers, compassion–they are all one big rubber band ball here that is apparently rolling full circle.

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

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