Never deny yourself an experience. Whatever opportunity blow your way, hitch up your sails and ride that wind until it is beat. Do not, as Nancy Reagan might suggest, just say no—instead: say Yes.
Say yes to the experiences that could change you, that could shape you and shock you and delight you. Say yes especially to the things that scare you, those things you don’t want to do simply because they seem too big. Nothing is too big. Leap out a plane miles above the earth, travel to Africa, get a college degree, sing on the street at five in the morning, wake up your neighbors with “Yankee Doodle.”
A lot of classes and instructors of writing say, “Write what you know.” Write what you are passionate about—but sometimes what you may be passionate about does not align with what you know. It is probably a good time to learn, then. Experience those things so you can write about, and even if you absolutely can’t (sci-fi, fantasy writers out there), then write it anyways. You don’t have to be an expert, but when you do get a chance to learn something firsthand, wrestle that opportunity to the ground.
What scares you? Ever since childhood, I have avoided films concerning the paranormal, the horrific, grotesque acts of ghosts and monsters under the bed, of the boogeyman and of anything that goes bump in the night. Recently, however, I have more open to watching horror movies. It’s not the bloody, realistic ones that scare me either, only the ones with ridiculous plots and grouchy ghouls.
With Halloween fast approaching, I am even considering walking through those decorated haunted houses. In Charleston, the historic ambiance of murder gone by stinking the air, you know those could get pretty frightening. But I’ll brave for the sake of poetry, or at least for the sake of being afraid. What’s so bad about being afraid? It teaches us a lot about ourselves.
Therefore, we can strive to do anything we think we can’t, agree to all the opportunities handed to us.
A trip to Florence, Italy? Sure, why not?
A nighttime ghost tour? Ah, well… okay, fine.
Living poetically means experiencing everything, analyzing everything, so why ever say no?