The One With Sarah Kay and Spoken Word Basics


This month, I'm participating in the Slice of Life challenge with Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post or you can head on over there to check out other people's stories and follow along with the fun. For more information on what a Slice of Life is about, you can go here

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I Googled, "spoken word basics," because I have an idea of what spoken word is. I've watched spoken word performances, I've been moved by spoken word poetry, I know it's writing and speaking brought together but is it truly that simple. I have a feeling it's not...when I think of writing a poem and practicing how to perform it, it feels overwhelming, daunting, scary. So it can't be that simple. 

Like any time I feel unsure of something and want to learn more, I do a Google search. This time, Google knew exactly what I needed, who I needed. 

I needed Sarah Kay. 

Sarah Kay was exactly what I needed. 

Because while I know lots about writing and poetry, I really don't know about the experience of spoken word and she talks about exactly this! She talks about how spoken word is about bringing together what you know to be true and what you don't understand. She says spoken word is the art of performance poetry. It's poetry and theater, can represent any emotion, and is mostly about writing and bringing to life who you are through words.

What I know: Sarah Kay makes me want to write. 

What I don't understand: Why writing has to be so emotional.  

I mean, I do understand. I love reading anything that makes me feel. Whether I feel happy or sad, curious or mad, I want to feel something when I read. Good reading makes readers feel. 

But still, to me, the fact that as a writer I have to feel the feelings to write them is hard. Why can't I just write without having to be honest and face hard truths and make my characters deal with difficult stuff? It's almost like asking, "What's the hardest thing for you to talk about?" And then saying, "Write about that."

I think I might have an idea for a spoken word poem! Now to write it. 

Be sure to check out this TED Talk from Sarah Kay entitled If I Should Have a Daughter.




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