After a some time away for the holidays, it’s been exciting to resume Exclusive Ink for the spring semester. During our first few sessions this term, we’ve been fortunate enough to still see our regulars almost every day, even if they’re only popping in to grab a sandwich or say hello before practice.

Another encouraging thing is that there have been some new students who are eager to participate. During our second week back, I worked a new student, K–. He’s kind of an imposing guy and an athlete, so I didn’t know what to expect. Sometimes it takes a few sessions before new students start to open up and become active participants.

The exercise that Doug had prepared was “Writing a Manifesto”, which was an ambitious exercise that I worried might be slightly intimidating for a new student to take on. But to my surprise, K– jumped right in, contributing some really candid, profound, and downright impressive output explaining his writing process.

It was cool to see K– talking about his process of writing poetry, describing his rhymes as “flowing down a river” and writer’s block as “rough patches, even rocks” in your path as you swim. I was blown away by many of his insights. I remember quite distinctly his reasoning for having to have a title before he begins his poems. He said, “Writing a poem and giving it a title later is like having a child for ten whole years and then deciding to name it.” We both had a good laugh at that one, and we dealt with more than just writing; we came to understand each other a little more.

However, the biggest surprise came when he stood up to share his work. After he shared some of the things we talked about, he went completely off-script. Here’s the gist of what he said:

“I like to write in the moment, because there are so many thoughts in my mind. But, sometimes, I do like to get some distance from it because all those thoughts get scrambled – like eggs. You know, when you have a plate of eggs, and there’s just so much on the plate, but there’s that one really awesome cheesy piece next to the hash browns? That’s what I mean when I need to get some distance from it sometimes. Writing in the moment is good to get ideas down, whatever words I might need to use at some point, but when I get some distance, maybe at the end of the day or even days down the road, I can pick out what I really want to write about – that delicious little cheesy piece left on the plate.”

Contributed by Luke Wortley