Friday, April 21, 2006

poetry reading canceled

I was contacted recently about the possibility of reading some of my recovery poetry during a church sermon on forgiveness. I was willing to do the reading although I explained that children and young people in the church should probably not be exposed to some of my poetry. I suggested that I read only one poem, "Unstuck," at the service. The ministers discussed the matter and decided not to have me read this time. I do prefer a reading environment more like that of a coffee house, with the lights turned low, and where I can read under my pen name of Al Johnson. I need to protect my family and not give public presentations under my real name.

I have always found it a therapeutic, although stressful, situation to read my recovery poetry. It is scarey, because we do not know how people will receive it. I realize that it is other people's problem if they minimize the impact of abuse we have received and which we describe in poetry or other ways. But it still never feels good to have something so person be rejected. It's still part of my needed growth, but when others minimize my experience or say that I should write about more positive things, I feel personal rejection. Most of the time, however, people are understanding and even sympathetic when they hear me read my recovery poetry. And that kind of reception is very helpful as part of my longterm program of recovery.

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