“This is really hard,” Young muttered, while hopelessly looking down at the half-written poem on her desk.
“Of course it’s hard,” I replied. “You’re just learning how to do it.”
She responded with a huff, a sure sign that my words bounced off of her with no effect.
Unbothered, I encouraged her to persevere, just like I encourage myself to persevere. I uttered, “This is really hard” just three weeks ago, while writing my first lyric essay for my writing workshop.
I felt awkward while penning the first draft. Like two left feet trying to breakdance to “Rapper’s Delight” on a crowded dance floor awkward. Like Issa Rae trying to spit sick rap lyrics in the mirror on “Awkward Black Girl” awkward.
But eventually the beat overtook me and I internally felt the music instead of trying so hard to dance to it. Somehow, I didn’t find the rhythm. The rhythm found me.
Commenting on one section of the essay, a classmate wrote:
“Ouch! Your voice and descriptive powers come together to work on the reader.”
Next week I start draft number three, one of many that will precede an early January submission to an anthology.
There is no guarantee that the essay will be published. There is only a guarantee that at some point in the rewriting process, I will mumble to myself, again: “This is really hard.”
It always is.