I suppose nothing exists a priori. As romantic as it would be to say I was destined to write, or writing chose me, both are a bit far-fetched. My name Devon means both “poet” and “word-bringer,” but it’s really by an incident that I decided to write. I grew up a bit of a bookworm and read at a slightly advanced level. So it makes sense I had many opportunities to be inspired by some work to do as authors do, but it took one specific work. It began while I was reading a classic book as a young child one afternoon. “Ah, distinctly I remember.”
It was a children’s collection of the works of Edgar Allen Poe. I loved the short stories, and have been writing my own in kind sporadically over my life. But it wasn’t Mask of the Red Death or Cask of Amontillado that lit a fire in me. It was the definitive popular poem The Raven. After reading it once I knew I wanted to memorize it. Then an intoxicating thought hit me. Could I write narrative poems that other people wanted to memorize? I wanted to write stories and verse others yearned to come out of their mouths. I wanted to capture scenes and feelings in still ink that lay dormant in wait for an unsuspecting reader to become their new host.
The Raven – Anatomy of a narrative verse
Part of me feels so very very cliche admitting such a popular poem encouraged me to write. Another part of me gives fewer damns than a crippled beaver. To me back then, and even now, The Raven is like a meal that’s easy to chew, tough to digest, and hard to pass. There’s something about writing in clean, structured verse that feels almost holy. The body of a compelling and cohesive narrative brings me a satisfied joy every time. Meanwhile, there’s a melancholy in the accessible elements of fear, loss, frustration, and despair that sit so neatly and understandably in the words, the work itself could almost be a human being.
In the end, this is what I want to produce through my own talents and skill. I want to write the type of work I would consume. Honestly, I’m not there yet, which saddens me as much as it emboldens me. It’s been my ambition lately to be at least a decent writer, so I’ve been taking workshops in writing so I can improve. My hope, I guess my dream, is to write something that survives me. That persists simply because after my tongue has grown fat then shriveled in my corpse’s jaw, someone else sees it fit to read and repeat my words. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish, so I won’t get my hopes up, but I won’t put my dreams down either. Never, nevermore.